Why Greg Schiano of Rutgers Is the Embodiment of the "Peter Principle"

Bermuda BobAnalyst IINovember 26, 2011

Eleven (11) Years of Hope Against Hope !
Eleven (11) Years of Hope Against Hope !

Eleven years ago, Rutgers University—the State University of New Jersey—hired Greg Schiano to lead their floundering football programme.  

Rutgers had foolishly joined the Big East for football first, then was allowed to bring the balance of their sports.  Rutgers ardently wanted to be thought of on par with all the great other state universities in the nation.

I maintain that they were trying to be something they are not, and in hiring Greg Schiano, someone who had never been a head coach, they proved it conclusively.  

He WAS a New Jersey guy, but not educated there.  He was clean-cut, possessed a chiseled demeanour and physique, and had a penchant for optimism, which Rutgers certainly needed.

Greg Schiano was crowned the "saviour" of the Rutgers programme.  

He was given a "sweetheart" contract which would ultimately be extended and renegotiated.  Part of that deal was an interest-free loan to build his $800,000 home, and for every year he stays at Rutgers, $100,000 is "forgiven" on it.  

His payment package was valued at upwards of $2 million.  That's $2 million for a football coach at a school with dire financial difficulties to the point that the tuition had to be raised, just to support the athletics department.

As a life-long resident of NJ, I didn't know that a state university was a financial institution issuing mortgages.  It is especially curious for Rutgers, whose financial foibles were reported on by Bloomberg and outlined in my article "The Rutgers Irresponsible Squandering of $$$ on Athletics." Here's the link to that article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/832033-the-rutgers-irresponsible-squandering-of-on-athletics.

Each and every year of Schiano's 11-year tenure has been marked by the most optimistic prognostications and expressions that Rutgers was underrated.  On a few occasions, he got Rutgers to pivotal games.  

Unfortunately, most of the time -just like this year -Schiano could not deliver.

To his further dubious credit, Rutgers has gone to a number of obscure bowl games in places one needs an Internet search to define.  After today's loss, they will indubitably go to another that only sportswriters forced to cover them will know about.

The "Peter Principle" is defined as when "...employees tend to be promoted until they reach a position at which they cannot work competently..."  

That explains why Schiano is unable to be the "saviour" he was expected to be.  Schiano was a good and competent defensive coordinator elsewhere, but he is unable to perform in the position of a head coach.  His .500 record after 11 years of mediocrity is irrefutable proof of that fact.

There is no solution to this predicament in which Rutgers finds itself.  

They can recommend him for another head coaching position, like when he was considered at Michigan, or they can hope he is considered for the Penn State job, one he is said to covet.  

The ethical conundrum will still remain, though, since Rutgers simply will be relieving themselves of the "Peter Principle" they developed...and is proof of it as well.