NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University, after firing head basketball coach Mike Rice earlier this week, dismissed Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, citing the fact that his abusive behavior toward his student athletes did not stay under the rug where it had been swept six months ago.
The issue came to a head when videotape, which school officials had been aware of since December, surfaced publically this week. The video depicts Rice throwing balls at players’ heads, manhandling them, and hurling slurs such as “fucking fairy” and “faggot.” Speaking to the press, school President Robert Barchi explained that this was a difficult decision, but one he had to make. “When we learned players were being abused, we didn’t really care all that much,” said Barchi, who had Pernetti suspend Rice for three games over the tape last fall. “But the incident refused to stay buried. We can’t have people thinking that the basketball program is more important than the welfare of our students. I mean, that’s the truth, but now that the public is aware of this, someone has to pay – and those someones are Mike and Tim.” Barchi also stated that he feels that there is no need for anyone else to lose their jobs over this.
As of now, the Board of Trustees is standing by Barchi’s decision. “What [Rice & Pernetti] did was reprehensible” said a source close to the board. “I cannot stress this enough: you cannot treat our student athletes this way. Not when you are finishing twelfth in the Big East and not even making the NIT.”
Though the nature of the abuse is shocking, Rice and Pernetti still have supporters in the sports media. “What’s the big deal?” asked CBS Sports talk show host Jim Rome. “All they did was take a bunch of kids, abuse them for their own personal satisfaction, milk their talent for their own financial gain, and then discard them when they were no longer of use. If that’s not representative of everything the NCAA stands for then I don’t know what is.”
In attempt to rededicate itself to the ideals of championship basketball and the mistreatment of college students, Rutgers has announced that it has hired Bobby Knight to fill the now empty coaching slot.