The Rutgers Athletics Debt Scandal: Key Facts

Rutgers cried poverty and fired 400 PTLs while sinking millions into athletics debt.

Amid the pandemic, Rutgers fired more than 1,000 workers—including nearly 400 PTLs—citing a supposed financial emergency. An investigation by revealed that since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has funneled nearly half a billion dollars into athletics from loans, tuition revenue, student fees, and taxpayer dollars. 

Top Rutgers administrators hid this fact. Against NCAA guidelines, management reported certain loans to the athletics program as revenue, and they violated university policy by doling out over $80 million in university loans to finance athletic program operating deficits. 

By misrepresenting financials and providing no accountability, the Rutgers administration enabled Rutgers Athletic department’s bad behavior. During the first wave of the pandemic, the administration tried to cancel salary increases and successfully delayed a key program to address pay inequality on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, and campus. The administration also placed severe, ongoing financial restrictions on Rutgers–Camden. This issue is symptomatic of the dysfunction in a university administration that starves Rutgers of funds needed to support its central mission—teaching, research, and community-empowerment. 

This scandal has also affected thousands of Rutgers PTLs. We, and other vulnerable workers, women, and people of color, have disproportionately borne the brunt of the layoffs because the administration does not prioritize the people needed to fulfill its stated mission.

Here are the facts every PTL should know about the recent debt scandal:

  • Rutgers Athletics is more than a quarter billion dollars in debt to internal and external creditors. 
  • RU Athletics’ annual operating deficit tripled between 2014 and 2020, amounting to a $73 million loss. 
  • New Brunswick students subsidized athletics, paying about $400 each in mandatory student fees that amounted to a total of $12.6 million in 2019–2020—which is more than Rutgers Athletics made from ticket sales and double total donations. 
  • Rutgers coaches’ salaries have doubled since 2014. Head football coach Greg Schiano makes $4 million a year—more than he did as a coach in the NFL. 
  • Despite promises that money would pour into the university after joining the Big Ten, Rutgers currently ranks dead last in donations to athletics among 52 public universities in the five richest sports conferences, and it is next-to-last in ticket sales. 
  • President Holloway says that the university may forgive tens of millions of dollars in athletics debt—money that could have been used to save the jobs of hundreds of Rutgers PTLs.

Rutgers’ top administration and the system they oversee are dangerous to the health of public education. They’ve failed to govern the university competently, and we shouldn’t have to lose our jobs or take bad deals at the bargaining table because of it.

Join us as we organize to demand greater accountability from Rutgers and compile demands for our upcoming contract campaign. It’s up to us—PTLs, full-time faculty, staff, students, parents, and more—to make it clear we are not willing to sacrifice public education for the sake of Rutgers’ perverse priorities.

Join your union, reach out via email at, and follow us on social media to get involved in our fight for a fair contract for all adjuncts at Rutgers!