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June 29, 2011 11:06 AM The Rutgers University Balance Sheet

By Daniel Luzer

Rutgers, New Jersey’s flagship state university, is apparently continuing to spend like a drunken sailor. Despite pleading an “extreme fiscal crisis” to avoid giving school employees scheduled raises last year in May this year the university spent $30,000 to secure Nobel prize-winning writer Toni Morrison as its commencement speaker. And then earlier this month the school agreed to pay outgoing president Richard McCormick $335,000 a year, for the rest of his life.

Now,comes news that Rutgers spending on athletics is, well, generous. According to a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Rutgers University’s athletic department relies more heavily on university and student-fee money than any other big-time sports program, a USA Today analysis has found. Rutgers spent $27-million last year to subsidize athletics at a time when the university said it would withhold scheduled negotiated raises for its employees because of cuts in state support.

Some 42 percent of the athletics department’s money comes from subsidies from the school, the highest percentage of any school USA Today studied. According to the article, by Steve Berkowitz and Jodi Upton, Rutgers Athletics director Tim Pernetti explained the funding mechanism this way:

The view of what that is can be several different things. With athletics being the big window into everything we do here at Rutgers, and being that we’ve been able to do it in a positive way, it is an investment in the branding and marketing of the entire place, not just the athletic department.

Well right, but why are you spending more than any other school?

The university is saving about $30 million by not giving employees the raises.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer