After more than two weeks of discussions, Greg Schiano and Rutgers could not come to an agreement for him to become the program’s next head coach, a source told Yahoo Sports on Sunday. The decision leaves Rutgers, already reputed as one of the country’s most dysfunctional athletic departments, essentially starting over with their coaching search. The school fired Chris Ash on Sept. 29.
Rutgers officials interviewed Schiano on Nov. 5 near Columbus, Ohio, and he’s been the prohibitive favorite to return to the school where he coached from 2001 to 2011. During that meeting, Schiano detailed a list of potential expenditures that he felt would be the minimum for the school to become competitive in the Big Ten East. This included staff salaries, support staff salaries and facilities upgrades — areas where Rutgers is lagging far behind its Big Ten peers.
Although they went deep into discussions this week, Schiano wasn’t going to accept job parameters that he felt wouldn’t give him a realistic chance to win in the conference. The sides couldn’t come to an agreement over multiple facets of the negotiation. While Rutgers was willing to increase support significantly from its current levels, it wasn’t to the threshold that Schiano saw as necessary.
A source with direct knowledge of the negotiations said that Schiano’s salary was not one of the hold-ups. He was slated to be paid among the bottom three head coaches in the Big Ten. The source added that Schiano made concessions from many of his initial asks.
The sides have been in frequent touch since the Nov. 5 meeting when Schiano laid out a granular plan that detailed what he felt it would take to revive the school’s lagging football program.
Rutgers (2-8, 0-7 Big Ten) is considered the worst Power Five program in college football and this failed courtship does little to shake that reputation. Rutgers has lost its seven conference games this year by an average of 36.5 points per game, the most glaring sign of the talent discrepancy between the Scarlet Knights and their alleged Big Ten peers.
Rutgers’ slide to oblivion began in 2012 when they lost out on a top candidate because of financial restraints. After Schiano went 49-28 during his final six years there (68-67 overall), he left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rutgers went deep into negotiations to hire then-FIU coach Mario Cristobal. But the school lowballed Cristobal and he stayed at FIU. Cristobal is now the head coach at Oregon, which is ranked No. 14 nationally.
Rutgers settled on then-assistant coach Kyle Flood, who showed flashes of competency with the roster he inherited but struggled as the program transitioned into the Big Ten. Flood went 27-24 in four seasons, but started just 4-12 in the Big Ten. His firing led to the hiring of Ash, who went 8-32 over four seasons and 3-26 in Big Ten play. Ash’s firing could cost the university more than $8 million, depending on his next landing spot.
Some of Rutgers’ financial constraints can be tied to the school still not receiving a full share of Big Ten money. The school reportedly needs to wait to 2021 to nearly double its league revenue to $43 million.
The only other known candidate who has interviewed with Rutgers is Alabama assistant Butch Jones. Other names that could emerge in the search are Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton, Toledo’s Jason Candle, Boston College coach Steve Addazio, Buffalo coach Lance Leipold and Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. Michigan assistant coach Anthony Campanile, a former Rutgers player, is considered a strong candidate.
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