Tim Pernetti has resigned as the athletic director for Rutgers University. The resignation comes two days after the firing of Mike Rice, the former men’s basketball coach. Rice was known for having used homophobic epithets, and for slamming basketballs at players in order to “motivate” them.
Pernetti only fired Rice after video of the abuse became public. Prior to that, he was merely suspended. In the letter of resignation to Barchi, Pernetti hoped that his tenure at Rutgers would “not be judged by this one incident”.
FOX News has been voicing their support for Rice. Last night, Jon Stewart noted that Sean Hannity apparently had no problem with balls being thrown at his face:
Pernetti has said that his first instinct was to fire Rice immediately, but felt that the consensus at the time was that “university policy would not justify dismissal.” The video showed Rice basically abusing players.
Calls for Barchi to step down have also been made, but he seems unwilling to do so. It appears that knowledge of Rice’s behaviors were well known but acted upon. There were several complaints lodged against Rice, but none were acted upon until after video of his behavior hit ESPN.
The Rice scandal marks the second time that Rutgers has made the national news for less than good reasons. Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers, committed suicide after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, filmed and broadcast Clementi having an intimate night with another man.
Unfortunately, many universities are more concerned about their need to protect their reputation rather than take care of their issues directly. In the end, the lesson that they really need to learn is that it is not the crime that gets you, it’s the coverup. That was something that President Richard Nixon learned, but very few people ever actually learn.