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Rutgers’ bumbling and stumbling continues, this time at Eric LeGrand’s expense

Kyle Flood, Eric LeGrand

Is it possible for Rutgers to get anything right these days?

Saturday night, the Star-Ledger is reporting, a university official asked Eric LeGrand to be the keynote speaker at RU’s commencement later this month.  LeGrand, who was paralyzed playing football for the Scarlet Knights during a 2010 game, was obviously more than eager to accept the unexpected assignment.

Two days later?  The offer was inexplicably rescinded.  Making matters worse, LeGrand, who’s been a wonderful advocate for his alma mater since the injury, wasn’t given anything but an ambiguous reason for the abrupt about-face.

I just want an explanation,” LeGrand told the paper via the telephone. “I wish somebody would have given me a call tonight and explained to me why. Then I can understand, but don’t just leave me hanging.”

According to LeGrand, the university president’s chief of staff asked him to replace former Secretary of State — and current College Football Playoff committee memberCondoleezza Rice, who had been scheduled to give the keynote speech before a controversy about her participation prompted her withdrawal.

The move to withdraw the offer to LeGrand was made, reportedly, “for political reasons.”  How politics could leave RU so tone-deaf and insensitive is unclear.

What is clear is that the university owes, at bare minimum, a very public and sincere apology not only to LeGrand but to anyone connected to the university for their reprehensible actions.  Or, as Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger very deftly put it:

LeGrand deserves better. Rutgers deserves better. No one in years has given back to that university community that Eric LeGrand, the embodiment of that Scarlet R. And this is how they treat him?

Unfortunately, this is far from the first public misstep for the university in just over a year’s time.

In the run-up to the school’s move from the AAC to the Big Ten, RU simply can’t get out of its own way.  In April of 2013, athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced to step down under a cloud of controversy involving the men’s basketball coach.  Pernetti’s replacement, Julie Hermann, came under fire for allegedly abusing players during her time as a volleyball coach at Tennessee.  Hermann further stepped in it by publicly hoping the Star-Ledger would go out of business thus leaving hundreds jobless, adding further embarrassment to her rocky tenure..

In mid-November of last year, Jevon Tyree quit the football team amidst accusations that he had been bullied by defensive coordinator Dave Cohen.  An independent investigation found that Cohen, who was fired in mid-December, did not bully his players.

All I can say is, good luck Big Ten.  You’re going to need it, apparently.

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14 Responses to “Rutgers’ bumbling and stumbling continues, this time at Eric LeGrand’s expense”
  1. thegonz13 says: May 6, 2014 9:29 AM

    Stay classy, Rutgers!

  2. ningenito78 says: May 6, 2014 9:47 AM

    As somebody that’s part of a family that donates a significant amount of money to the university and are long time season ticket holders- Rutgers is turning into an embarrassment. The president-AD combo of Barchi and Hermann has been an unmitigated failure and disgrace. Both need to go. Barchi was brought in to help the Rutgers-UMDNJ merger and that’s all fine and good. But outside of that he’s obviously completely out of his league and needs to go. As for Julie Hermann, which sorry, was a transparent and pathetic attempt and bringing in a ‘female’ AD in order to try to stem the crush of criticism in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal. She’s been a total disaster from the world ‘go’. Both need to be fired and now. The situation has already become embarrassingly toxic and there’s no way for the University to save face now. But at least they can cut their losses and move forward. They CANNOT represent RU in their move to the B1G. God, I wish Pernetti would come back but even he, a Rutgers loyalist, had his bridge irreparably burned. It’s time Rutgers. Admit your mistake and cut this dead weight. It’s killing you.

  3. annapterp says: May 6, 2014 9:49 AM

    Its the State College of NJ…enough said!

  4. ningenito78 says: May 6, 2014 9:53 AM

    Yeah. The state of Maryland is in WAAAY better shape.

  5. wolfman55h says: May 6, 2014 10:25 AM

    This half assed program is more entertaining than monkeys with firecrackers.

  6. manik56 says: May 6, 2014 10:43 AM

    Luck? BTN on in NYC is not about luck.

  7. dhardy8207 says: May 6, 2014 10:50 AM

    Oh my!…. A big Ooppss on that one…This will be a PR disaster because Legrande draws a lot of publicity…

  8. 8to80texansblog says: May 6, 2014 12:05 PM

    manik56 says:
    May 6, 2014 10:43 AM

    Luck? BTN on in NYC is not about luck.

    I don’t think Rutgers is delivering anything more than a tiny sliver of the NYC market….

  9. chrisanderson2013 says: May 6, 2014 12:07 PM

    Pernetti’s replacement, Julie Hermann, came under fire for allegedly abusing players during HIS time as a volleyball coach at Tennessee.

    So Julie Hermann is a guy???

  10. Deb says: May 6, 2014 1:10 PM

    ningenito78 has said it all. I’m just curious how the administration could consider an appearance by LeGrand politically controversial.

  11. mogogo1 says: May 6, 2014 3:04 PM

    What exactly is controversial about LeGrand? And it would have had to of been something that the admin wasn’t aware of at first but found out within a couple days of the invite. Something isn’t adding up.

  12. whocares832 says: May 6, 2014 7:32 PM

    this is a pointless story. and why is legrand famous? it’s not like he’s the first football player to be paralyzed.

  13. ningenito78 says: May 7, 2014 8:41 AM

    @Deb the only answer is that they are completely tone deaf. At an unbelievable level.

    @whocares if you need help with that one then what are you doing on sports websites? Go back to Perez Hilton and RadarOnline.

  14. dryzzt23 says: May 7, 2014 9:24 AM

    I too hope the Star-Ledger folds. It is a left-wing rag that spews nothing but pro-government and anti-Christian rhetoric.

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