Another day, another PR blunder for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. After dominating the news cycle with the now-scandalous hiring of athletic director Julie Hermann, the state school of New Jersey continues to get its name in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. On the very day that the Big East unveiled their new logo for their re-branding as the American Athletic Conference, the Knights have petulantly declared they will not be participating.
Interim AD Carl Kirschner laid out the plan for Rutgers to not display any conference logos next season on their football field or basketball stadium, which have had the Big East logo featured prominently up to this point. According to Kirschner, the plan is for the school to display no logos until “we proudly display the Big Ten logo in 2014,” despite being a full-fledged member of the Big East/AAC for one more season.
While the reasoning makes sense, the execution of their decision has fallen flat, much like everything else that Rutgers does recently. There’s something to be said about leaving your current situation with some dignity and class and not thumbing your nose at your former compatriots a full year before you’re out the door. The Big East has been good to Rutgers, but the Knights can’t even let the conference announce their new brand, a change that was prompted partially because of Rutgers’ defection, without shouting about how they are “over” their current affiliation.
That would be like a regular person accepting a new position with a different company, but having that new job not start for a year and being forced to sit at their same desk in the interim. Their current company is disappointed and the loss of employees is forcing the company to re-brand while you’re still there. On the day they announce that re-branding, complete with new letter-head and company polos, they stand up at their desk and shout “THIS IS DUMB. I’M NOT USING ANY OF THIS. I’M SENDING MEMOS OUT ON BLANK PAPER AND WEARING MY OWN SHIRTS. MY NEW JOB IS COOLER THAN THIS!” and then sitting back down with a smug grin on their face…for a whole year.
You wouldn’t want to be that guy, but Rutgers is totally being that guy right now. Everyone knows that they’re leaving; they don’t have to be a damper on their current conference as they stumble out the door with yet another gaffe from their leadership. Let’s just hope Rutgers doesn’t need a letter of recommendation on their way out the door.