Public reaction has been strong to $450,000 spent on DoorDash orders by the Rutgers University football team over the course of roughly a year, according to a report by NorthJersey.com.

The report analyzed 14 months of records from May 2021 through June of this year, as the Rutgers Athletics Department had given student-athletes the option to use the meal courier service “in instances when a permissible meal was not otherwise available or provided,” according to a department spokesperson.

“The DoorDash program was set up to provide $75 per week, ($15 for 5 to-go meals) and the weekly amounts were to be uploaded one week at a time,” according to a lengthy release from the athletics department, as received by New Jersey 101.5.

“Over 14 months there were roughly 19,745 orders for student-athletes at an average monthly transaction cost of $22.88,” it continued.

According to NorthJersey.com, there were “hundreds of individual orders for at least $50,” including $250 from Crab Du Jour Xpress in Pennsauken and $152 from the remaining Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse in Union County within the first month of the RU athletics program with DoorDash.

There also was a $120 single charge from Hook & Reel restaurant in Elmwood Park, two months later, the same report said.

For anyone using the DoorDash platform, there are a number of fees that vary for each restaurant, which the company says go to paying the food “Dashers,” operate the DoorDash platform, and provide the best service possible.

Pricing also fluctuates depending on when an order is placed.

DoorDash accounts for student-athletes “was not exclusive to members of the football team,” the Athletics Department has also said, “as DoorDash was made available to other teams provided that adequate funding was available in their budgets.”

The DoorDash spending began just as Rutgers Athletics saw a record deficit of $73 million for the 2020-2021 year, as previously reported by NJ.com, after the COVID pandemic prompted a shortened, nine-game schedule with only some family members and coaches allowed at each venue.

NorthJersey.com also found that at least five athletes made a dozen DoorDash orders from stores that do not sell human food — including PetSmart, Bed Bath and Beyond and The Flower and Gift Boutique — for a total of more than $560 over several months.

“There were three student-athletes who made limited purchases of non-food items, which was outside the constraints of the program,” the athletics department release said, which added “ those have been addressed in the manner required by the NCAA.”

Reaction on Twitter to the Rutgers football DoorDash spending report has largely been sarcastic, with a tinge of exasperation.

“So...without the DoorDash from the FB players, Rutgers deficit would be around $72.5M. Oh, well then.”

“Do You know what is outrageous?? Rutgers football has won 10 games… in the past 3 years. They don’t deserve DoorDash”

“$450K is like 7 DoorDash orders…”

"Rutgers football spent 450k on doordash this last year - Probably only got 200k worth of food"

“If rutgers can give the football team $450k for doordash my term bill better be real low”

As of late June, Rutgers’ Athletics had swapped DoorDash for Grubhub.

Sen. Jim Holzapfel previously slammed the department’s “wasteful spending.”

“Rutgers athletics seems to have a penchant for wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars,” Holzapfel (R-10) said in a statement in July, following an earlier NorthJersey.com report. He continued:

“It runs up $10 million in credit card debt, receives $100 million from Democrats in the state budget, and all the while our K-12 schools face significant budget cuts and layoffs. As I’ve said before, our local schools should be funded first, period. We should not be using taxpayer dollars to bail out the athletics division yet again, especially in light of these recent credit card spending sprees. This wasteful spending is only driving the cost of college tuition higher for tens of thousands of New Jersey families who are already struggling with high taxes and inflation.”

Holzapfel was not available for comment on the specific DoorDash spending analysis.

On Friday, Sen. Declan O'Scanlon called for an investigation into the Rutgers Athletics Department.

“It is absolutely mind-blowing that this was allowed to happen without the notice of someone overseeing the accumulating invoices. The person responsible for that lack of oversight needs to be held accountable," O'Scanlon said in a written release.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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