Pernetti out as Rutgers AD

Published April 05, 2013

| Sports Network

The Mike Rice scandal at Rutgers has cost Tim Pernetti his job as athletic director.

Pernetti resigned Friday, becoming the latest domino to fall in the wake of Rice's firing on Wednesday.

"My continued tenure as athletic director is no longer sustainable for the university which I attended and where a piece of me will always remain," wrote Pernetti in a resignation letter posted on the school's athletic website.

Rice was dismissed as men's head basketball coach after videotape of his behavior during practice was released by ESPN on Tuesday. On Thursday, men's assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli announced his resignation for similar actions.

Pernetti came under fire because of his decision to initially suspend Rice when he first learned of the coach's questionable practice habits. Rice was punished with a three-game suspension and a $50,000 fine for his actions.

No details were initially given for Rice's suspension in December, but once the videotape was released, a public outcry spawned and speculation grew rampant as to why the coach was not fired.

The video clips show Rice physically and verbally abusing players. He shoved and grabbed players, while also hurling basketballs at them.

"In connection with the incidents involving former basketball coach Mike Rice, as was the case with all other matters which I handled on behalf of the university, I always tried my best to do what is right," Pernetti's letter continued. "I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today.

"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."

Once the investigation was complete, Pernetti said he believed the university policy wouldn't justify a 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," Pernetti added.

Pernetti was hired in February 2009 at age 38 and, at the time, was the youngest athletic director in the Big East Conference. He played football at Rutgers from 1989-93 and had been the analyst on the team's radio broadcasts for eight seasons before his ascension.

However, Pernetti had never held a major position within the athletic department, but did work in various television programming roles with ABC Sports and had been a vice president at CBS Sports Network.

Pernetti's biggest move as Rutgers AD was helping the school obtain an invite to join the Big Ten Conference amid the breakup of the Big East. Rutgers will remain in the new American Athletic Conference, the offshoot of former Big East members, next year before joining the Big Ten for the 2014-15 academic year.

It was Pernetti's role in the lucrative move to the Big Ten that many believed might help save his job.

"Tim Pernetti is a sincere and honest man," said Rutgers president Robert L. Barchi at a press conference Friday afternoon. "He has made a number of decisions that has positioned Rutgers athletics well. I believe he always had the good of Rutgers and its student-athletes in mind when he made the decisions he made."

Barchi has also been scrutinized for his handling of the issue. He said Friday did not see the video clips until Tuesday and regrets that decision.

"This was a failure of process," Barchi stated. "I regret that I did not ask to see the videotape when Tim first approached me. This would have had a totally different outcome if I had."

Numerous faculty members on the Rutgers campus have called for Barchi's ouster.

Barchi said the search for a new athletic director would begin immediately.

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