Rutgers, Penn State Scandals Show that Boosters Can be Finicky With Their Wallet

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Rutgers, Penn State Scandals Show that Boosters Can be Finicky With Their Wallet
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Rutgers is moving to the Big Ten in a year, but right now, the university is mired in the Julie Hermann situation.

It is a scandal that, as Tom Canavan of the Associated Press points out, could well cost the Scarlet Knights some money.

Between the mismanagement of the Mike Rice situation, leading to Tom Pernetti's resignation as the school's athletic director and the botched hiring of Hermann as the new athletic director, Rutgers has displayed some clear ineptitude. In the short term, that will likely lead to some donors backing out as a means of voicing their displeasure with the administration.

Penn State, a school saddled with a scandal of much larger proportions, experienced that funding drop recently, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. However, it must be noted that the drop in total donations, came with a twist. During the same time period, Penn State also experienced a rise in football-specific donations.

Thus, as general donors decided to tighten their purse strings in the case of the Nittany Lions, the football-specific gift-givers did just the opposite. Rutgers' donors are going to be faced with a similar decision—whether to flex their muscles of discontent by withholding money or to give more now, when the athletic department needs them. 

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Rutgers is not Penn State. The Nittany Lions have a more robust donor base, more football history and a scandal that, in many ways, put the community's collective back against the wall.

The NCAA came down hard on Penn State. The national media came down hard on Penn State. For those people who support the program, donations to support the athletes caught in the center of all of this was a fitting response.

With Rutgers, we will find out just how boosters view the situation from a cash perspective. Do they show up with the dollars to fund an administration that dropped the ball on multiple occasions?

Or do they show their discontent by slowing the funding and hope the administration gets the message?

Rutgers needs all the cash it can get and that means donations. The Hermann situation has put that in jeopardy at a time when the school needs the generosity of its boosters.

Over the next few months this story will write itself, and it will largely be based on whether wallets are opening or closing for the Scarlet Knights.

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