Friday Newsbytes – Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers Athletic Director is Fired – The original announcement was that Rutgers AD Robert Mulcahy was resigning, but he quickly responded that this was not the case. The end result is that he has been fired, effective December 31st.

This is big news in the NJ area (where I live), since Mulcahy gets a lot of the credit for make college sports at Rutgers relevant again. So what was the problem? While there may have been some questionable financial oversight at Rutgers, an internal committee said that Mulcahy did not technically violate any legal or ethical rules. However, there were a couple of significant events that have been negatively received. He agreed to a no-bid contract with Nelligan Sports without disclosing that the company had hired his son (a clear conflict of interest, which needs to be disclosed to avoid suspicion), and that same firm paid Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano an extra $250,000/year, which was not initially disclosed to the university (Rutgers is a state school, so the value of state employee contracts is supposed to be public record).

These instances may have both been minor, but in a state with a history of political corruption and a university that was getting heat over athletic spending, the school could not ignore these events. The moral of the story here has to be, the illusion of impropriety can be just as bad as actual impropriety, so make sure to willingly disclose any decisions that could be ethically misconstrued.