Gov. Christie said the next president of Rutgers University should decide whether the price of competing in top-level college sports is too high.
Christie told reporters Wednesday that he would not second-guess decisions by outgoing Rutgers president Richard McCormick and that money the New Brunswick state school spends on athletics is "not waste and abuse."
McCormick will retire in June, and a selection committee is searching for a replacement.
Rutgers' athletics budget was subsidized by the school at a higher rate than any other public institution in the six biggest football conferences during the 2009-10 fiscal year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. More than 40 percent of sports revenue came from student fees and the university's general fund.
"This is a policy judgment that the university has made," Christie said in Princeton. "A new president may come in and make a new policy judgment. At the time the new president comes in, I'm certain I'll have the opportunity to have input with the new president on what that policy should be."
Christie said he would not "micromanage" Rutgers. The athletic subsidies may be the subject of legislative hearings next year when university officials appear before lawmakers at budget hearings, Christie said.
Rutgers spent $11.2 million on coaches' salaries and benefits in fiscal year 2010, third among Big East state schools behind the University of Connecticut's $12.5 million and the University of Louisville's $12.1 million, the Bloomberg data show.
Football coach Greg Schiano earned $2.03 million including bonuses for the fiscal year that ended in June. Schiano won 59 games and lost 63 in 10 seasons, including a 4-1 record in postseason bowl games.
Vivian Stringer, the women's basketball coach, got the second-highest pay among Rutgers coaches in fiscal 2011 at $1.3 million including bonuses, according to the school. She also receives monthly allowances of $1,000 for a car and as much as $500 for golf. Stringer has coached the Rutgers women for 16 seasons, one of which ended in the national semifinal and one in the final.
Christie said he did not believe the coaches' pay was excessive.