Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi announced today that he has accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, effective immediately.
“Tim and I mutually agreed that this is in the best interest of Rutgers. I appreciate the positive things that Tim has done for the University, but also recognize the gravity of recent developments in regard to the men’s basketball program,” Barchi said at a news conference this afternoon.
Barchi and Pernetti announced on Wednesday that they had jointly decided to terminate the employment of Rutgers Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Rice based, in part, on video excerpts of team practices showing abusive language and behavior by Rice toward his players. Barchi said he first viewed the video Tuesday evening.
“This was a failure of process,” Barchi said. “I regret that I did not ask to see the video when Tim first told me of its existence, because I am certain this situation would have had a different outcome had I done so. I personally apologize to the entire Rutgers community – our faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and the many others who support the great work of this university – for the negative impact that this situation has had on Rutgers.”
Barchi also apologized to any student athletes on the team who may have been personally harmed.
“The kind of chronic and pervasively abusive behavior demonstrated on that video is unacceptable and does not represent the high standards of leadership and accountability we strive for within the Rutgers athletic program,” he said. “I also apologize to the LGBTQ community and all of us who share their values, for the homophobic slurs shown on that video. I personally know how hurtful that language can be.”
Barchi, who has been criticized for the way the University has handled the issue, praised Pernitti at the press conference.
“Tim Pernetti is a sincere and honest man, and a skilled athletic director with many strengths,” Barchi said. “With the exception of the Coach Rice matter, he has made a number of decisions that have positioned Rutgers Athletics well, including the negotiations that have brought Rutgers into the Big Ten. I believe he has always had the good of Rutgers and its student athletes in mind. As I said, this mutual decision is in the best interest of Rutgers, and we will learn from this situation going forward. I respect and accept Tim’s decision to step down and I sincerely wish him well.”
More than two dozen faculty members have called on Barchi to step down, but Rutgers University Board of Governors Chair Ralph Izzo defended him at the press conference.
“This week, the division of intercollegiate athletics has been the focus of serious concern and scrutiny,” Izzo said. “I commend President Barchi for his handling of a very challenging set of circumstances. He has made difficult choices, which I believe are in the best long-term interests of Rutgers University.”
“When President Barchi began his term at Rutgers eight months ago, the Board of Governors made it clear to him that his top priorities were successfully integrating the health sciences units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers and developing a strategic plan to shape and guide the university’s priorities over the next 10 years,” Izzo said. “These are significant tasks, and I know that I speak for the entire Board of Governors when I say that he is handling those tasks exceedingly well.”
Barchi said he would soon announce the appointment of an interim director of intercollegiate athletics. He also said the university would move quickly to launch a nationwide search for Pernetti’s successor. Pernetti has served as director of intercollegiate athletics since April 1, 2009.
He also announced that John Wolf, the University’s interim senior vice president and general counsel, has resigned.