Only A Matter of Time … Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti Resigns in Wake of Mike Rice Abusive Behavior Scandal Firing


The Buck does not stop at the desk of the Rutgers University President …

In the wake of the firing of Rutgers University Basketball coach Mike Rice firing and the scandal that surrounded his abusive behavior toward his players, it was only a matter of time before the next shoe dropped. Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti has now resigned  in an effort to calm down the public furor over their handling of abusive behavior by the Scarlet Knights’ men’s basketball coach. We had asked the very question, why once the video came out of the inappropriate and abusive behavior of coach Rice was he fired as opposed to when he was first punished with a suspension? Those that made the decision to only suspend Rice saw the very same videos. Obviously, those at Rutgers who made the decision to only suspended Rice had made a grave error in judgment and were going to pay a price once the video became viral. However, how many scapegoats will be required to take the fall to make up for the initial non-firing of Rice?

They also revealed that the circle of people who viewed video of abusive treatment of players by the coach, Mike Rice, as early as December was wider than previously understood, and that it included members of the university’s board of governors. That group was informed of the decision to suspend Mr. Rice for three games and send him to anger-management counseling, but not to fire him, according to Ralph Izzo, chairman of the Rutgers board.

On Friday morning, two days after Mr. Rice was fired, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned, and implied that he was being made a scapegoat. He said his initial inclination when he saw the videos last fall was to fire Mr. Rice, but “Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel.”

Robert L. Barchi, the president of Rutgers, placed the blame on Mr. Pernetti and other senior officials who he said recommended that Mr. Rice be suspended rather than fired.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi announced the resignations of Mr. Pernetti and John B. Wolf, the university’s general counsel. It would appear at Rutgers, the buck does not stop at the president, it stops at those beneath him who he wishes to throw under the bus. Question, how with such a scandal like this does the president of a university not watch a tape unless they wish to claim plausible deniability?

Dr. Barchi placed the blame for the decision to suspend rather than fire Mr. Rice in December squarely on Mr. Pernetti and the university’s lawyers, saying he had not watched the video of Mr. Rice’s actions last fall and instead had relied on their descriptions of it.

“I know had I seen the tape that my assessment would have differed from theirs, and I would have acted on my assessment,” Dr. Barchi said.

When asked why he had not watched the video, he said: “I can’t answer exactly why I didn’t. You can only say in retrospect I sure wish I had.”

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