Rutgers: Eddie Jordan has no degree
Rutgers’ official bio of new men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan says he graduated from the university in 1977. But the university registrar’s office says the former NBA player and coach never received a degree from Rutgers, though he earned 103 credit hours from 1973 to 1985.
A Rutgers source told ESPN that it’s unknown if the school did not vet Jordan’s résumé, or if Jordan was not truthful about earning his degree.
Rutgers acknowledged Friday it “was in error when it reported that Eddie Jordan had earned a degree” but said his position does not require him to have one.
“Rutgers sought Eddie for the head coach position as a target-of-opportunity hire based on his remarkable public career,” Rutgers said in a release. “Eddie Jordan was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2004, and he has been a part of the Rutgers family since before 1977.”
Rutgers’ mistake of saying Jordan had a degree was made by members of the university communications department while doing research for Jordan’s bio, and they never verified the information with the coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.
The degree discrepancy was first reported Friday by the sports website Deadspin.
Jordan told ESPN that he did not receive a diploma because of a registration issue, but he did complete his school hours in 1985. Jordan finished playing at Rutgers in 1977, then returned to school to complete his degree after his NBA career ended in 1984.
“Some of the professors are still around and some are gone, but they all know I was in class and did my work,” Jordan said. “There was arrogance on my part when I was told I didn’t register right, and then I left to (coach at) Old Dominion. I was told my classes were never recorded. I saw a transcript. I will have to find it. I was there and I completed the work. My professors that are still there know that. That’s it.”
Jordan said he learned after his final semester that he never was officially registered.
“I went back to Rutgers in 1984-85 as a voluntary assistant to complete my studies,” Jordan said. “I didn’t walk. I didn’t get a diploma because I wasn’t registered right. That’s it. I was 28 and didn’t take care of my business. It was never an issue.”
Jordan said he was a physical education major and took health and physical education classes that last semester.
After the semester, Jordan said he then left for Old Dominion to become an assistant, and he put on résumés that he graduated from Rutgers in 1985, not 1977, when he finished playing.
After his one-year stints at Rutgers and ODU as a coach, Jordan went on to coach at Boston College and then again at Rutgers before going to the NBA as a coach in 1997. He said there was no need to put it on NBA résumés since the league doesn’t need résumés.
Rutgers scheduled Jordan to interview for its job in 2010, but Jordan changed his mind and canceled the interview, a source told ESPN. Because Jordan never interviewed then, the school never fully looked into his academic credentials at that time, a source said.
Rutgers hired Jordan last month to replace Mike Rice, who was fired after video was made public showing Rice kicking and shoving players and yelling obscenities and anti-gay slurs at them. Two university administrators resigned over the scandal.
Rutgers used former Vanderbilt and South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler as a consultant to help identify candidates to replace Rice, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. However, it would have been up to the university to be responsible for checking the background of each candidate.
In a statement, Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda called Jordan a “part of the Rutgers family.” Miranda referred questions about Jordan’s bio to the athletics department. A spokesman did not return a call or emails to The Associated Press.