The Rutgers athletic department has long been a mess. From former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice hurling epithets and basketballs at his players, to former football coach Kyle Flood breaking school rules by personally lobbying a professor to get a player’s grade changed, to the one-time hiring of Julie Hermann as athletic director despite a checkered past that likely should have disqualified her for the job, the New Jersey school just can’t seem to get things right.
And now we have video of current Athletic Director Pat Hobbs drinking a beer on stage at a student tailgate before last Saturday’s game against New Mexico.
We got to this latest low point in Rutgers athletic department history after the school announced before the season that it would be setting up a student tailgate section called “The Alley” outside High Point Solutions Stadium for Scarlet Knights football games. According to NJ.com, the first tailgate on Sept. 10 drew 500 to 800 students but that number grew to around 3,000 before Saturday’s game, causing Hobbs to worry that things were getting out of control even though Rutgers police said they issued citations to only four people that day.
NJ.com has the rest of the story:
Hobbs said he arrived just as the Rutgers police were issuing tickets and he got the sense that the crowd was getting out of control. Hobbs stood on top of a riser, grabbed a microphone to address the crowd and, according to multiple witnesses, the Rutgers AD helped control the situation by lauding the Rutgers Police Department and calling for the students to cheer them.
A video released by New Brunswick Today shows someone handing Hobbs a beer just before he leaves the stage. Hobbs says, “No, I can’t drink that right now. No.”
Ten seconds go by and then Hobbs grabs a can, and quips: “I am of age. If they card me, I’m okay. All right, go RU.’ “
On Tuesday, the school announced it was shutting down the Alley “due to safety concerns.” Hobbs said drinking the beer was “a mistake,” according to the NJ.com story, and that he regretted “that any action on my part can be interpreted as promoting the use of alcohol. That was certainly not my intention.
“My first concern is always for the safety and well-being of our students,” Hobbs said of his tailgate misadventure, per NJ.com. “Anyone who was at the [student tailgate] Saturday knows that I was acting to ensure that.”