SBD/Issue 219/Collegiate Sports

Rutgers AD Mulcahy Defends School's Relationship With Nelligan

Mulcahy Defends Rutgers' 
Relationship With Nelligan
Rutgers Univ. (RU) AD Robert Mulcahy "defended his department's relationship" with Nelligan Sports Marketing (NSM), and said that his son's employment with NSM was found by RU's legal counsel "to not violate the state's 'conflict of interest' statute," according to Keith Sargeant of the HOME NEWS TRIBUNE. NSM said that it hired Mulcahy's son, Robert J. Mulcahy, in March '00, "one month after a letter of agreement to represent the athletics department was signed but before the contract was finalized 13 months later." NSM Chair & CEO T.J. Nelligan: "We already had an agreement, we had already got off to the races of contacting corporate sponsors to bring in revenue." Nelligan said that Mulcahy's son, who left the company in November '02, "never worked on the [RU] account." RU and NSM have a deal through June 20, 2017 which gives the company "exclusive rights to sell the university's marketing ventures." When asked about "accusations that NSM received preferential treatment when its agreement was twice extended without bid," Nelligan replied, "Not true." Nelligan: "The first contract had a three-year term if we hit a benchmark. So, if we hit a benchmark of success that was significantly higher than where we started, we automatically got three more years." NSM handles the marketing for four collegiate conferences and 17 university athletic programs (HOME NEWS TRIBUNE, 8/2).

CLEARING THE AIR? In New Jersey, Rick Malwitz noted Mulcahy Friday offered a "vigorous defense of the job he has done, and his role in helping give the state the rallying point that the football program has become." Mulcahy: "I feel confident that when all the reviews are done, that people will acknowledge that this department is a credit to the institution and to the people of New Jersey." Malwitz noted Mulcahy during the interview was "emotional when he described his reaction" to reports that he stuck a deal with NSM because of his son. Former RU President Frances Lawrence and the school's BOD "were aware of Mulcahy's son's relationship with Nelligan" (HOME NEWS TRIBUNE, 8/2). But a Newark STAR-LEDGER editorial stated victories on the field "do not justify ignoring Mulcahy's handling of the school's sports business. A university athletic program, operated openly and ethically, and a nationally competitive football team need not be exclusive endeavors." RU lawyers "somehow determined that the contract did not violate state ethics rules, although they did note that it might not pass the smell test. That alone should have been enough for Mulcahy and [RU] to back away from the deal" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/3).

Rutgers To Scale Back Football Stadium Expansion
HOME IMPROVEMENT: Mulcahy said that the $102M expansion of Rutgers Stadium "will not include all the bells and whistles envisioned by the athletics department." However, Mulcahy added that the school "does not run the risk of giving" RU football coach Greg Schiano an "incentive to leave, should the project not be complete by the opening of the 2009 season." A report last week indicated that Schiano "would not have to pay a $500,000 buyout of his contract if the stadium is not completed on time." Mulcahy and another source said that "there was no deal -- secret or otherwise," and Mulcahy denied that an "addendum excusing the $500,000 buyout figure existed." Mulcahy said that the Rutgers Stadium expansion "will not be as elaborate as planned, though spectators will know the difference." Mulcahy is "confident four elements of the project will be complete by 2009: Roughly 13,000 seats in the south end zone; the completion of the lower stadium bowl; a new scoreboard and a new stadium exterior." Dining facilities and auxiliary locker rooms at the stadium are "among items likely to be sacrificed" (HOME NEWS TRIBUNE, 8/1).

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