An Open Letter to Rutgers Students:
Thank you for the terrific support you have shown the Rutgers football team in our first two home games this season. Our team is inspired when they emerge from the South end zone tunnel to hear the overwhelming cheers from a packed Rutgers Stadium.
You, our students, are the face of Rutgers. Your behavior and your cheers give us the home field advantage, and help to set the tone of enthusiasm for the Stadium on game day.
The jeers and vulgarities hurled by a small group of students at the U.S. Naval Academy football team during the Rutgers–Navy game embarrassed the University, the alumni, and Rutgers fans across our State. The behavior was undignified, disrespectful, and unacceptable. Some parents were so upset by the vulgar chants in the student section that they left the game with their children.
By contrast, we saw Rutgers fans standing and applauding the Navy players as they came on to the field, and the two teams showed the mutual respect they have for each other after the game when they stood together for the playing of each institution's alma mater. The behavior of a small group has caused many alumni, fans, and supporters great concern – and appropriately so. Both the President and the Director of Athletics have apologized to their counterparts at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Rutgers is built on a 240-year history of tradition, intellect and character. All members of University community expect our students to conduct themselves in ways that reflect positively on this tradition and that bring honor to the university. The Athletics Department and Student Affairs will work together with student groups to encourage good sportsmanship and incorporate whatever measures are necessary to ensure that this will occur.
Let's show the nation that Rutgers' student fans, like our football team, are among the Nation's best. We ask for your help by acting with the respect and dignity worthy of our great University.
Thank you all for your continuing support, and GO SCARLET KNIGHTS.
Director of Athletics
Vice President, Student Affairs