Rutgers Basketball

Is Rutgers Setting Trends in Hiring Standards with Basketball Coach Ed Jordan?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - APRIL 23: Eddie Jordan, the former Rutgers star, is introduced as the school's head men's basketball coach on April 23, 2013 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Jordan, who starred in the 1970s with Rutgers and made it to the Final Four in 1976, replaces Mike Rice who was fired after a video surfaced showing him physically and verbally abusing his players during practice. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIMay 27, 2013

When Rutgers University became aware that newly hired men's basketball coach Eddie Jordan never obtained a college degree, and did not ask for his resignation, did it make a statement about its hiring standards?

Will it stand behind its decision and hire all university employees, including the highest officials, irrespective of degrees they may or may not hold?

Rutgers basketball fans know the credentials Jordan brings: He led Rutgers to its only Final Four appearance, won an NBA championship as a Laker and won more than 250 NBA games when he served as head coach of three of its teams.

The man is more than qualified!  Although he doesn't have a college degree, he's more qualified than almost any candidate, even those possessing PhDs in education or bachelor's degrees in general studies.

So do we say hooray for Rutgers for redefining hiring standards, or do we say this is madness at a school that prides itself in strong academics and one of the highest yearly APR rating in the NCAA?

Rutgers became aware Jordan didn't obtain his degree 10 days after they hired him on April 18th.  Embarrassing was the only word to describe what Rutgers alumni, its students and its fans were feeling. In 10 short days, they went from feelings of inspiration to feelings of embarrassment when finding out how incompetent Rutgers could be in the vetting process.

CBS sports has made it clear that they believe Jordan has never claimed he was a graduate.  They went on to say "it appears Jordan's biggest crime, if we can call it that, is that he failed to volunteer that he's not a Rutgers graduate."

Well, this in fact is a huge problem for Rutgers and Jordan.  Should a head basketball coach, someone who might soon become the most visible employee at the university, have used better judgement and been more forthright by informing the interview committee he did not hold a degree?

Should a man of Jordan's stature have even thought he could have become head basketball coach at a major university without one?

So while the nation focuses on the fiasco at Rutgers over its AD Julie Hermann, Jordan continues recruiting new talent and hiring assistant coaches.

And what happens now?  Does Rutgers embrace the situation? Or does it say "wait, the man needs a degree"?

Does it even know if Jordan has stated he intends to finish his degree?

This may not be over.  Since Rutgers president Robert Barchi may not be around too much longer, there's no telling what a new president will do about Jordan's hire.

And the folks who may be most vulnerable in all of this are the players. They've been led to believe that Jordan will be their coach.

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