William Dowling is still at it, years after having faded away. I remember the Rutgers 1000 program from my days at Rutgers, and the overall ambivalence most students felt toward the group even during those dark days when Rutgers football was as bad as it got. Many held similar sympathies about whether Rutgers should stay in the Big East and Div 1A, but I think that was driven mainly by the fact that Rutgers never looked as though the team could win. Now that the team has finally turned the corner, the group has faded away in to obscurity.
While I understand their concern, the group strikes me even more now as riddled with contradiction. They want the University to be great, yet point to other great schools with successful football programs.
Rutgers alumnus Mark Mattia, a 1975 graduate, said athletic director Bob Mulcahy has somehow sold the idea that a great football team makes a university great.
“That’s nonsense,” Mattia said. “Michigan, Berkeley, they are not great because they have great football teams. They are great universities.”
While Mattia is right on the point of great Universities, he overstates the power that Mulcahy actually has. I doubt anyone believes that merely having a good football team makes a great University. However, a good football team provides a source of pride in a great University in a way that merely strong academics rarely can and provides a constant source of attention. So long as the players continue to graduate and stay out of trouble (i.e. avoid the Miami model of football), the team has my backing.