Rutgers President Calls Mike Rice Scandal A "Failure Of Process"
Rutgers Univ. President Robert Barchi on Friday held an at times contentious press conference to discuss the resignation of AD Tim Pernetti earlier in the day in the wake of the scandal involving former men's basketball coach Mike Rice. Barchi in a prepared statement said, "This was a failure of process. I regret that I did not ask to see the video when Tim told me of its existence." Barchi went on to apologize to the university as a whole, student athletes and the LGBTQ community. Barchi added that Pernetti's "decision to rehabilitate rather than fire Coach Rice was wrong." He also said he will be "moving to appoint an interim athletic director in the coming days." Barchi then read from a letter penned by Pernetti, in which the former AD said he is "proud of my efforts to lead Rutgers into the Big Ten."
When asked about his own employment status in the wake of the scandal, Barchi deferred to BOG Chair Ralph Izzo, who quickly shot down any speculation as to whether Barchi should be dismissed. Izzo said Barchi is "the right person to run this place for many years to come." Barchi, when pressed further about whether he himself considered resigning, said, "I consider resigning every day when I wake up. ... I serve at the discretion of the Board. There is no term to my contract" (ESPN, 4/5).
Twitter was filled with reaction to the press conference. The Bergen Record’s Steve Popper wrote, “Oh jeez, someone needs to pull Barchi from the stage now. This Rutgers president is writing his resignation letter as he speaks.” SI’s Jimmy Traina: “Mike Francesa just played tape of Tim Pernetti on his show earlier this week saying Pres Barchi DID see the tape. Somebody's lying...” The N.Y. Post’s Mike Vaccaro: “Sure, Ralph Izzo is saying now that Barchi will not be fired. Which is exactly what Pernetti said about Rice Tuesday. Fired Wednesday.” The N.Y. Times’ Judy Battista: “Is there even one responsible adult in a position of leadership at Rutgers?” Campus Insider’s Bonnie Bernstein: “I'm confused. Pernetti says he wanted to can Mike Rice. Lawyers/HR ppl/outside counsel said no. Those ppl getting fired?#Rutgers.”