Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned, saying his first instinct when he saw the video of men's basketball coach Mike Rice's behavior "was to fire him immediately," but that the university's review of the case led to a consensus Rice should not be dismissed.
Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned Friday, saying his first instinct when he saw the video of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice’s behavior “was to fire him immediately,” but that the university’s review of the case led to a consensus Rice should not be dismissed.
After Pernetti learned of the abuse allegation four months ago, he announced a suspension and fine for Rice, but allowed him to keep his job despite video evidence the coach berated players at practice, threw basketballs at them, kicked them and taunted them with vulgar language, including homophobic slurs.
In his letter of resignation to university president Dr. Robert L. Barchi, Pernetti said 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.”
At a news conference, Barchi cited “a failure of process.” He said he was given a report of the situation by Pernetti last fall but he did not see the video until Tuesday night.
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“I regret that I did not ask to see the video when Tim first told me of its existence because I am certain that this situation would have had a very different outcome had I done so,” Barchi said.
Rice was fired Wednesday.
Eric Murdock, a former Rutgers employee who made public the video of Rice, filed a whistle-blower suit against the university. Murdock accused Rutgers of violating New Jersey’s employee protection act and his contract and of retaliating against him for complaining about mistreatment of players.
Ex-NBA player Murdock was director of player of development. His contract wasn’t renewed in July.
Barry Kozyra, Murdock’s lawyer, would not comment on reports Murdock was willing to settle with Rutgers for $950,000.