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Update: Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti resigns; school president Robert Barchi denies culpability

04.05.13 at 10:21 am ET
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Tim Pernetti

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti announced his resignation Friday, following the fallout over his handling of the Mike Rice situation.

Rice, whose physical and verbal abuse of players at practice was exposed when ESPN aired a videotape documenting the behavior, was fired, and assistant coach Jimmy Martelli, who also was taped mistreating players, resigned Thursday.

Even in his resignation letter, Pernetti continued to attempt to pass the blame for his failure to fire Rice after seeing the videotape last fall. Earlier this week, Pernetti insisted he preferred to rehabilitate the coach. Rice was suspended for three games in December, fined $50,000 and ordered to attend anger management counseling. On Friday, Pernetti claimed that he wanted to fire Rice but that he did not have the support of the school to do so.

“I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today,” Pernetti said. “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.”

Rutgers president Robert Barchi also has come under fire for not insisting that Rice be fired last fall, although Barchi denied seeing the videotape before this week. Barchi hosted a press conference Friday afternoon and was widely criticized for attempting to deflect responsibility in the matter.

“This was a failure of process. I regret that I did not ask to see this video when Tim first told me of its existence,” Barchi said. “I want to apologize to the entire Rutgers community for the negative impact that this situation has had on Rutgers.”

Added Barchi: “It was not until Tuesday evening of this week, when I watched the video, that I had the opportunity to witness personally for the first time what Tim had seen last fall. I was deeply disturbed by the behavior that the video revealed, which was much more abusive and pervasive than I had understood it to be. As Tim acknowledged on Wednesday, his decision to rehabilitate, rather than fire, coach Rice was wrong.”

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