PISCATAWAY, N.J. —Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano spoke out Saturday about criticism he and the school have received in recent weeks over clauses in his contract, mainly denying reports that the deal contains a buyout clause.
The Star-Ledger of Newark reported last month that Schiano has the option to leave Rutgers after the 2009 season - without paying a $500,000 buyout if the school's $102 million stadium expansion is not completed on time.
However, Schiano said that isn't true while speaking with reporters at media day.
"There is no such thing," Schiano said. "There certainly were a lot of things talked about and it was all very important to me. As long as Rutgers and the state of New Jersey are committed to being the best, we're going to grow responsibly. I think that's what we've done."
The coach said the option was discussed, however.
"Could I have had it if I wanted? Yes. But I'm part of something bigger than just football. I'm part of Rutgers University," Schiano said. "I felt the commitment was there. I don't want to do things that way. When you're part of something there has to be trust."
Schiano, a New Jersey native who enters his eighth season at Rutgers, has led the Scarlet Knights to three straight bowl appearances. They are 26-12 with two bowl victories over the past three seasons, by far the team's best stretch since joining the Big East in 1991.
However, details of his contract have become a major topic of conversation as tuition costs rise and other sports at the school have been cut, spurring critics to claim that football was taking priority over all else at Rutgers.
Schiano said the barbs put no extra pressure on him to win big to legitimize the money the school is investing in the program.
"I've been at a few places and there's always some dissent. It's not just at Rutgers," Schiano said. "No matter how popular the program is, there's always a faction that doesn't agree with it. I don't feel any pressure and I don't think our players do."
Quarterback Mike Teel said the players are ignoring the debate as they prepare to open the season Sept. 1 at home against Fresno State.
"That stuff has nothing to do with us. That's what happens when you're the head coach of a successful program," Teel said. "With all the good stuff comes negative stuff and stuff you have to deal with. Our job is to play football and go to class here."