On Wednesday, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer used the platform of the NCAA Tournament to discuss a pressing issue within her program: facilities upgrade.
In an article by Keith Sargeant of NJ.com, Stringer, opined at length, at how the lack of upgrades have hindered her efforts in recruiting -- and puts her at an distinct disadvantage with her competitors. Here's an excerpt from the article:
The Hall of Fame coach started her post-practice interview with a small group of reporters by offering comments critical of her team's seeding, blasting the NCAA Tournament selection committee for sending Rutgers to Connecticut to face its instate rival and perhaps meet its longtime nemesis on the Huskies' home floor.
She then was asked about the proposal presented by state Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex), who formally called on administrators from Rutgers and Seton Hall to work together to stage a doubleheader involving their men's and women's basketball programs on Wednesday afternoon.
"You know what I think would be great for Jersey basketball? Why don't we get a $50 million god darn arena? How's that?'' Stringer said. "That's what I think would be real great. Because you try recruiting to this. Have you gone to the other facilities? Come on, people. Let's get involved in the things we need to do.
"And I'll play everybody, anybody, whenever they get ready. I need a facility so that we can attract the same kinds of kids that everybody else does. I'm sitting up here and I walk into that facility at Ohio State — are you kidding me? It's the most incredible thing there is.
"We gotta do more than just talking. We gotta do something about this. NJIT, how much are they spending on a facility? Please.''
It marked the first comments from Stringer on the state of Rutgers' facilities issue since state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) in late February rebuked officials at the state university for not doing enough to support the men's basketball program while calling for an achievable plan to upgrade the 38-year old Rutgers Athletic Center and build a practice facility to accommodate the basketball teams.
If Lesniak sparked the fire on the topic of Rutgers facilities, Stringer turned it into a raging inferno during a 30-minute interview.
"Here's our problem: When our kids walk in other places, I'm embarrassed," Stringer said. "I walk into the University of Maryland and they've got a place where these kids can practice the dunk. When I came from the University of Iowa, the weights were women's weights because our shoulders aren't as broad as guys. Everything was tailored down. Everything was catered. You're thinking, 'That's pretty darn good,' because you know that people care and everybody wants to be cared for.''
While, many programs are making tremendous upgrades to their facilities, Rutgers is lagging behind -- and Stringer definitely has something to gripe about.