Ongoing investigations by the Bergen Record continue to look into the use of funds by the Rutgers Athletics Department, according to an article by Patch.
In July, NorthJersey.com reviewed financial records from the Athletics Department and examined the use of University credit cards to pay for excursions to gourmet restaurants and Disney, among others, as previously reported by the Daily Targum.
The latest report discusses the University’s football program’s policy of giving free DoorDash food deliveries to players, paid for by the University, that totaled more than $450,000 from May 2021 to this past June, according to the article.
This bill came from orders of takeout meals from restaurants and deliveries from convenience stores and pharmacies, including those from restaurants near players’ hometowns in the U.S. that were far from campus.
"In one case, a player placed orders a thousand miles apart on the same day, in Florida and New York — and then continued to make orders in Florida for two more days," the report said.
The charges were not disputed by the University, which said that the practice of allowing athletes to receive free DoorDash deliveries started during the pandemic due to NCAA rules that required them to quarantine upon testing positive for or being exposed to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This policy still continues on campus today, according to the article.
"Our institution was permitted to use DoorDash based on this guidance to allow institutions to provide boxed food delivery services or food-related gift cards to a student-athlete who was required to remain at home, return home or who was otherwise unable to access campus due to (COVID-19),” the department said in a statement.
The department also said that DoorDash was used to provide nutritionally-balanced meals to student-athletes whose teams had room in their budgets when alternatives were not available, including when athletes were in quarantine, practicing or competing and other sources of food were unavailable in those facilities.
The report said that the University switched to GrubHub in late June to lower costs and also limited players to free food and beverage deliveries, according to the article.
Rutgers said that the DoorDash program provided $75 per week without individual transaction limits and that there were approximately 19,745 orders made during the time period in question.
They said that three student-athletes purchased non-food items that were outside the limits of the program and that these instances have been addressed in a way that complies with NCAA regulations, according to the article.
Rebecca Kolins Givan, president of the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers, said that the majority of individuals at Rutgers face a lot of trouble for their expenses, but those restrictions do not seem to apply to Athletics or its administrators.
"The administration tells us they don't have the money for urgent needs, like a central program to guarantee funding extensions for graduate students whose work was disrupted by the pandemic,” Givan said. “This scandal isn't the fault of the players, who aren't properly compensated for what is effectively a full-time job playing a very dangerous sport. Our problem is with the administration's upside-down priorities."