Rutgers Athletic Director Resigns

Friday, April 05, 2013

Tim Pernetti resigned as Rutgers athletic director on Friday, two days after the basketball coach he hired was dismissed for abusive behavior during practices - actions that prompted nationwide outrage once a video went public.

The controversy unfolded as Rutgers is poised to join the prestigious Big Ten Conference by the summer of next year.

Click on the audio link to listen to New York Times columnist Joe Nocera discuss the influence of money in this story.

In a letter of resignation sent to university president Robert Barchi, Pernetti said he hoped that his tenure at Rutgers "will not be judged by this one incident."

When he first saw the video of Rice pushing, shoving and throwing balls at players in November, Pernetti said he wanted to fire him on the spot. However, he said the consensus among school officials at the time was the actions didn't call for dismissal.

The video was broadcast Tuesday on ESPN, showing numerous clips of Rice at practice firing basketballs at players, grabbing them by their jerseys and yelling obscenities in addition to gay slurs.

At a news conference on campus, Barchi said he regretted not asking to see the video when Pernetti first told him of its existence.

"I want to apologize to the entire Rutgers community for the negative impact that this situation has had on Rutgers," Barchi said.

Pernetti said in his resignation letter to Barchi that he has "spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today. As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice's behavior was to fire him immediately. However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel.

"Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved," it said.

The 42-year-old Pernetti is a Rutgers graduate who played tight end for the Scarlet Knights from 1989-93.

Before Pernetti's resignation, there was an outcry from Rutgers faculty and state legislators not only for his ouster but for Barchi's as well.

On Wednesday, Coach Mike Rice was fired. On Thursday, assistant coach Jimmy Martelli resigned.

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Comments [1]

SKV from NYC

Barchi needs to resign as well. Whether he saw the tape or not (and I'm not sure I believe him when he says he didn't until this week) he's responsible for what happened on his watch. If he didn't watch the tapes -- why not? And if he overrode Pernetti's recommendation to fire Rice, he's more at fault.

Bottom line, it was his responsibility, he showed poor judgment, and this is a failure that hurts the university he's supposed to be helping. Time to step down.

Apr. 05 2013 06:24 PM

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