RU53: You saw that alumni magazine interview with the new president?
RU67: I did. Pretty depressing.
RU53: I know. What depressed you most?
RU 67: Well, right at the beginning he chanted the "Everybody Knows O.J." mantra.
RU53: I saw that too. How can anyone be that clueless?
RU67: There's a possible explanation. Who did it remind you of?
RU53: (winces) Francis Lawrence.
RU67: Anybody else?
RU53: (grimaces) Richard McCormick.
RU67: Who brought you Lawrence and McCormick?
RU53: The booster coterie on the Board of Governors.
RU67: Didn't the same coterie choose this president?
RU53: You think?
RU67: Well, one Rutgers booster site was thrilled to remind fellow boosters that "Greg Brown led the the charge for picking the new president. The same Motorola CEO who has literally donated millions to Rutgers football."
RU67: Plus which, the alumni magazine has Barchi already promoting that fairy tale about how Rutgers spends $10 million a year on scholarships for "high achieving" athletes?
RU53: Why is that a fairy tale? If we've got football and basketball players coming in with 730 Verbal and 710 Math scores on the SAT, getting good grades in philosophy or ancient Greek or molecular biology, what's wrong with spending $10 million on them? Intellectually gifted students deserve scholarships, don't they?
RU67: They do. But Barchi wasn't talking about students like that. He was talking about that "APR" thing the NCAA keeps trying to peddle.
RU53: You must be joking. Everybody in higher education knows that the APR is a grotesque public relations fraud. Nobody takes it seriously.
RU67: Right. But did that stop McCormick and Trenton politicians and BOG boosters from trumpeting it to the skies? Does it stop Rutgers Magazine from going on with a straight face about the stellar "academic achievement" of the football franchise?
RU53: No. What's your point?
RU67: My point is that Barchi either knows that the "APR" is a tawdry public relations gimmick or he doesn't. If he doesn't, he's clueless. If he does, he's coming across as just another puppet of the BOG boosters.
RU53: Well, at least he's not doing what McCormick did, going on about how the $600 million Rutgers has poured down the Div IA athletics sumphole since 1994 is trivial because it only amounts to 1.3% of the national budget of Burkina Faso.
RU67: Barchi topped that. This alumni magazine piece says he's already endorsed some funding program to "promote Excellence."
RU53: YOU'RE KIDDING! He actually authorized the use of the word "excellence" in an official Rutgers communication?
RU67: It gets worse. He doesn't just talk about "excellence." He talks about "marketing," and how Rutgers is a "brand," and how a "commitment to excellence" helps you "promote the brand."
RU53: You mean the BOG has given us one of those administrators who don't understand the difference between an institution of higher learning and a Jiffy Lube franchise?
RU67: It seems that way. In that magazine article, you can't really tell whether you're listening to a university president or somebody who owns a Chevrolet dealership.
RU53: Oh dear. What's the RU1000 web team going to do about this?
RU67: So far, nothing. They say that there's an outside chance that Barchi may just be telling the BOG what they want to hear while quietly developing plans to turn Rutgers back into a real university.
RU53: What if they're wrong? For instance, what if he goes along with this business about dragging Rutgers into that sordid "Big Ten" football conference?
RU67: In that case, you'll probably see the RU1000 alumni mobilizing to get rid of him.
RU53: But isn't that sort of piling on? I mean, with the way Rutgers has been disgraced by the sordid series of athletics scandals that have come out during his presidency, Barchi must be feeling pretty low.
RU67: It all depends. He must realize this is his chance to make history.
RU53: You mean like Robert Maynard Hutchins turning the University of Chicago into a major national institution by abolishing football in 1939?
RU67: Something like that. Barchi's supposed to be a tough guy. If he faces down the BOG and pulls Rutgers out of that despicable "Big Ten" conference and returns the school to Div III participatory athletics, RU1000 alumni would be supporting him all the way.
RU53: But what if he doesn't? What if he goes on making noises about "marketing the Rutgers brand" and letting the Scarlet R crowd on the Board of Governors pull his strings on athletics?
RU67: Well in that case, there'll be no choice but to get rid of him. The booster crowd on the BOG is so entrenched that we can't do anything to clean out the ones who've been ruining Rutgers for the last twenty years. But we can at least get rid of these presidents they keep bringing in to make sure that the university never pulls out of its nosedive.
RU53: Like Lawrence, you mean?
RU67: Like Lawrence.
RU53: And McCormick?
RU67: Like McCormick.
RU53: So -- Barchi?
RU67: Stay tuned.
To see the latest on Pres. Barchi's hiring policies see