SBD/April 5, 2013/Colleges

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  • Rutgers Parts Ways With AD Tim Pernetti In Wake Of Mike Rice Abuse Scandal

    Pernetti's initial decision not to fire Rice led to his eventual ouster

    Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti is the "latest casualty" of the scandal surrounding former basketball coach Mike Rice, as Pernetti "is out" after originally deciding not to fire Rice upon learning of player abuse in December, according to Tara Sullivan of the Bergen RECORD. Pernetti was hired in '09, signing a "five-year contract worth $410,000 annually, with an annual performance bonus of $50,000 and a $12,000 annual car stipend" (NORTHJERSEY.com, 4/5). ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy cited a source as saying that Pernetti "resigned" his position, and that his job status was "actually arrived at Thursday by the school." Rutgers President Robert Barchi, like Pernetti, was "sharply criticized for Rice remaining on the job as coach for as long as he did." But a source said Barchi is "highly likely" to remain with the school (ESPN.com, 4/5). In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes it was "easy and obvious to first go after" Rice. The "next obvious target, of course," became Pernetti, but that is "still not enough." Barchi's "complicity in this matter -- in everything that plays out now at Rutgers University -- was completely obvious from the start." He "did not do his job when Pernetti came to him and told him about the tape." Nothing has "changed now that Pernetti follows Rice out the door at Rutgers." If they "go, Barchi goes." The idea that Barchi "survives this is as ridiculous as the decisions made months ago to set this whole thing in motion" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 4/5). ESPN’s McMurphy said of Pernetti, “It looks like he’s kind of the sacrificial lamb. It will be interesting to see if the Rutgers president will survive this also. ... There's a large contingent of Rutgers faculty that want the president out as well" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/5).

    PUBLIC DEMANDS: ESPN’s Andy Katz said Pernetti’s ouster is a “classic case of public perception climbing up to the highest levels of the state.” Katz said the Big Ten “wanted to get into the New York market,” which is why Rutgers was accepted. Pernetti “certainly helped drive that, but according to one Big Ten source I spoke with, he said, ‘You have to keep in mind it’s not one person, it’s not one incident that would change a long-term relationship.’ Now had all this ballooned at the same time they were trying to decide on Rutgers into the Big Ten, then yes it may have affected that decision” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/5). ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, "You get a mob of people saying, ‘You know what, that situation was so over the line that everyone involved needs to lose their jobs.’” Greenberg: “If I’m the president of the university, I’m quite worried about this situation as well” (“Mike and Mike in the Morning, ESPN Radio, 4/5). Radio host Dan Patrick said, “You have a president at Rutgers who’s either incompetent or, I’m trying to think of another word you can attach to him. I guess a liar" (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 4/5). ESPN N.Y.’s Ian O’Connor writes of Pernetti's initial decision to merely suspend Rice after viewing a video showing player abuse, "It appears Pernetti didn't do the right thing because he was the one who hired Rice, because he wanted to minimize the damage, and because he didn't want anyone or anything to rain on the school's Big Ten parade.” Pernetti was "protecting the program," but he was "protecting Tim Pernetti, too" (ESPNNY.com, 4/5).

    TWITTER REAX: Reaction to Rutgers parting ways with Pernetti spread quickly on Twitter, including CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman writing, "No shock given climate around that story now." CBSSports.com's Will Brinson: "Don't let the basketball smash you in the face on the way out the door, Tim Pernetti." USA Today's Dan Wolken opined, "What a fiasco. Rutgers is going to have no athletic director and no coach heading into April. All so easily preventable. … There are so many massive issues that go into a conference transition, too. Terrible time not to have an AD." USA Today's Kelly Whiteside chimed in, "With Pernetti gone, rudderless Rutgers about to embark on most significant era of its sports history. Who can take them there?" Newark Star-Ledger's Steve Politi: "What an epic disaster. Unthinkable that, 136 days ago, Pernetti was sitting in front of a B1G banner, a conquering hero. ... Now, no AD, no basketball coach, furious -- and I mean furious -- donors. It is back to the dark ages at Rutgers." ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil: "No AD, no hoops coach, president on the ropes. Headed to Big Ten. Rutgers has cornered market on the illogic of today's college athletics." NFL Network analyst and Rutgers alum Shaun O'Hara: "Flabbergasted & Disappointed by the news. This has gone from bad to worse. But My feelings on @Tim_Pernetti have not wavered for a second."

    KNIGHTS WERE JOUSTING: In N.Y., Brian Lewis reports more than 50 Rutgers Univ. faculty members signed a letter on Thursday demanding Pernetti "follow his first major hire out the door," with "28 more calling" for Barchi to be fired. Rutgers "had tentative plans to hold a press conference" on Thursday to discuss the scandal surrounding Rice, but the school "scrapped those plans.” A source on Thursday said, "Barchi doesn’t want to fire him; I know that for a fact. And (Pernetti) definitely has the support of the money (men)." Rutgers Athletic Development Dir William Montanaro on Thursday “sent emails to a wide distribution list requesting letters be sent to Barchi and the head of the Board of Governors supporting Pernetti" (N.Y. POST, 4/5). Meanwhile, NCAA President Mark Emmert on Thursday was asked if the Rutgers incident merited being cited for a "lack of institutional control" or "failure to monitor." Emmert responded, “I don’t know. It would be inappropriate to comment. I'm not trying to dodge a question, but I haven't had a chance in the past 48 hours to even think about it. Moreover, it's not my judgment call. It's the judgment call of the enforcement staff and the Committee on Infractions” (NJ.com, 4/4).

    SCARLET LETTERS: The AP's Geoff Mulvihill reported Mike Rice is “due a $100,000 bonus for lasting through the season.” Rice “would not be collecting the bonus if he had been fired in December when the university first saw the video and the administration decided only to discipline him” (AP, 4/4). Meanwhile, in Newark, Brendan Prunty reported Rutgers assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli "resigned from the program" on Wednesday. On a portion of the video leading to Rice's firing "that did not make airwaves, Martelli was seen shoving an unidentified player twice during a practice" (NJ.com, 4/4).

    BLOWING THE WHISTLE: In Newark, Mark Mueller cites a December letter from former Rutgers assistant basketball coach Eric Murdock’s lawyer Barry Kozyra as indicating Murdock, who provided ESPN's "Outside The Lines" with the videos that led to Rice's ouster, “alerted Rutgers officials about the problem behavior” of Rice “as early as last June.” Kozyra “contends in the letter his client was illegally terminated for blowing the whistle on Rice.” Rutgers officials have “indicated Murdock’s contract was not renewed because he was insubordinate, ignoring a directive against speaking at an unaffiliated basketball clinic while the university was operating one of its own.” Kozyra wrote that Murdock “would be willing to settle the matter, including attorney’s fees, for $950,000,” but if Rutgers and Murdock “failed to reach a settlement by Jan. 4, he would file suit.” Murdock attorney Raj Gadhok said that the suit, alleging "wrongful termination and violation of the law protecting whistle-blowers, could be filed as early as" Friday (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/5).

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  • NCAA President Emmert Spars With Media In Final Four Press Conference

    Emmert took an often defensive attitude in a session with reporters in Atlanta

    Striking an “often defiant tone, NCAA President Mark Emmert spent much of his Final Four press conference on Thursday defending his record and that of college sports' governing body as continuing controversy around the organization threatened to overshadow its marquee event,” according to Rachel George of USA TODAY. Emmert's 41-minute meeting “became a referendum on the challenges the NCAA faces.” If his appearance was “casual … Emmert's tenor was not.” He “trumpeted reforms from the past year, highlighting changes to the rulebook, academic-progress rates and the enforcement process.” But after his “17-minute opening statement," he spent the rest of the press conference "addressing questions critical of several recent problems and news developments.” Emmert "offered little new information on the problems the NCAA faces," as his tone was “often defensive, sometimes incredulous and seldom relaxed during the question-and-answer part of the press conference.” Disagreeing with “the premise of one reporter's question, Emmert told him he wasn't trying to ‘pick a fight.’" Addresing a reporter who wrote Emmert should lose his job following the mishandling of the Univ. of Miami case, Emmert said, "By the way, thanks for the career advice. Kept my job anyway" (USA TODAY, 4/5). The AP’s Paul Newberry wrote Emmert was “downright defiant with anyone who questioned whether he's leading the organization in the right direction.” He said, "If you're not getting sued today, you're not doing anything. I don't know anybody that doesn't have litigation pending, so I'm not going to apologize for the fact that we have a very litigious society and there's plenty of reasons to file suit against large organizations" (AP, 4/4). Emmert said, “Anyone would describe this as [a] challenging, dynamic, occasionally difficult time in intercollegiate athletics. I was brought in because they wanted to see a lot of changes made. There was a lot of concerns about what was going on in intercollegiate athletics. We outlined an agenda and we’ve worked hard on it ever since” (NYTIMES.com, 4/4).

    MARK VS THE MEDIA? SI.com’s Andy Glockner noted Emmert’s comment that he kept his job anyway “oddly ... was edited out of the official transcript released afterward.” His remarks were “feisty, but in an oddly defensive way that didn’t make him come off as very much of a leader” (SI.com, 4/4). YAHOO SPORTS’ Pat Forde wrote the “only thing missing from Mark Emmert's Final Four meeting with the media was Jay Bilas firing a tranquilizer dart into the NCAA president's neck, felling him on the spot, then posing for pictures over the carcass.” Otherwise, just about “every element of a big game hunt was in place.” Emmert was “the quarry,” and he did “his best to evade capture.” But reporters “kept up the pursuit, eventually cornering Emmert and aiming every weapon in their arsenal at a bloated target that couldn't run forever.” Part of it is “personal with Emmert: his cowboy approach to applying outside-the-box justice to Penn State struck many as a grandstand move.” And his style of leadership has “rubbed plenty of people wrong on both the inside and outside of the association.” But the “far bigger problem is the very entity of the NCAA,” as it remains a “slow, secretive and complex organization in a time of unprecedented societal impatience and transparency” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/4).

    LIGHT MY FIRE: ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil wrote Emmert’s remarks were “equal parts defiant, combative and downright snippy,” and he got “as close to a verbal duel with the media as maybe anyone in NCAA history.” Emmert's “verbal sparring and in most cases, downright refusal to answer any pointed questions with direct responses, only heightened the notion that both he and the organization he heads are under fire like never before in their history.” Emmert kept mentioning “change as the culprit, as if the problem here is that the NCAA has decided to deregulate the rulebook or offer new recruiting rules.” But O’Neil wrote the “problems are much deeper, systemic and personal than that.” Either Emmert is “naïve in thinking that this is about some simple change, or too stubborn to acknowledge the depth of his organization's mess” (ESPN.com, 4/4). In Chicago, Rick Telander notes Emmert is a “career college sports administrator who always has been able to leave Dodge just before the sheriff arrives” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/5).

    MAKING A CASE FOR THE CASES: The Univ. of Miami is calling the investigation into its athletic department "corrupted from the start." Miami has told the NCAA's Committee on Infractions that it “would agree to any properly corroborated allegations against the Hurricanes if the case is brought to a swift end and without any further penalties.” The AP’s Tim Reynolds noted the school "made that offer in the motion filed last week to dismiss the case." UM wants “the infractions committee -- which is not the NCAA's investigative arm, but a separate group -- to use the broad power it has under the association's bylaws to end the case before it even goes to a hearing, scheduled to begin in June.” Miami also “makes several accusations that the NCAA lied to the school.” It is unclear “what happens next -- when the motion will be heard, if the motion will be heard and who would even actually hear the motion” (AP, 4/4). Meanwhile, in Syracuse, Donnie Webb noted Emmert “declined to address the investigation into the Syracuse University men’s basketball program.” He was asked if the NCAA “had the power to change a pattern of programs like Syracuse, Connecticut and Kansas appearing in the Final Four while either under significant investigation or on probation.” Emmert said, “You know what the association has the power to do? It's not me, it's the membership itself, the membership has the authority to create rules; it has the authority to have the staff of the NCAA conduct enforcement investigations” (SYRACUSE.com, 4/4).

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  • UCLA AD Guerrero Receives Contract Extension Through '19

    UCLA “has extended” Dan Guerrero’s contract through ‘19, “giving the much-scrutinized athletic director an additional six years and nine months on the job,” according to Jack Wang of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. The school has “won 22 NCAA championships since Guerrero was appointed” in ‘02. Guerrero “will now be paid $734,774 with an annual 5 percent increase.” He had a “clause that would have rolled an additional five years on his term had there not been a new agreement.” His new term of appointment “will end on Dec. 31, 2019.” Guerrero prior to the extension was “already the highest-paid athletic director at a Pac-12 public school with $715,211 in guaranteed salary.” UCLA said that “no tuition or state funds were used in his compensation, which comes from athletic department revenues and private fundraising.” Guerrero also can “receive up to $105,000 in supplemental compensation depending on academic and athletic benchmarks.” He is “owed a $750,000 retention bonus as specified in his previous contract, and will earn another $734,000 should he remain at UCLA until April 1, 2018.” Guerrero's guidance of the football and men's basketball programs “has not been exceptional.” He “went through two ill-fated coaches" in former football coaches Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel "before landing Jim Mora, who debuted with a Pac-12 South title last season.” Guerrero's recent hire of men’s basketball coach Steve Alford to succeed Ben Howland “was also received with mixed reviews” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/5). The "buyout in the package can be no less than one year’s base pay" (L.A. TIMES, 4/5).

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