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Thursday, October 2, 2008
New oversight post for Rutgers athletics

Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. -- Following intense scrutiny over the cost of its football stadium expansion and disclosures about the compensation package for football coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers University created a new financial oversight position for its athletic department.

The university on Thursday hired Richard J. Costello to the position of deputy director of athletics-finance and administration. He starts next month.

Costello, currently the athletic director at Delaware State University, comes to Rutgers as some faculty, students and alumni are questioning the university's investment in big-time college sports.

Phone and e-mail messages left for Costello on Thursday were not immediately returned.

Rutgers president Richard L. McCormick said in a news release that Costello "brings an impressive background in finance, budget planning and management of intercollegiate athletics to this very important position."

William C. Dowling, a professor of English who has been one of the chief critics of the athletics expansion, called Costello's appointment a "last desperate attempt in damage containment."

Costello will receive an annual salary of $195,000, receive a temporary housing allowance of up to $15,000 over eight months and get an annual automobile stipend of $12,000.

Dowling said McCormick is merely adding another layer of bureaucracy.

"The only logical outcome I can see to this is he will then appoint another director of oversight to watch this director of oversight and pay the next guy $400,000," Dowling said.

University spokesman Greg Trevor said Costello's salary is similar to what he was making at Delaware State.

Schiano, whose contract this year is worth $1.6 million, gets an additional $250,000 per year from Nelligan Sports Marketing, a firm the university hired in 2000 to market the athletic program. The payment is guaranteed by Rutgers if sponsorships don't cover it.

In July, McCormick ordered an internal review of financial controls in July as a series of reports in The Star-Ledger of Newark raised questions about athletic department expenditures.

The state comptroller's office has requested documents on the athletic department, including financial details of the $102 million expansion of Rutgers Stadium.