NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Rutgers basketball scandal claimed two more university officials on Friday, including the athletic director and an interim senior vice president, who were involved in a decision to “rehabilitate” rather than fire the coach whose abusive behavior was captured on a video.
University president Robert Barchi’s job appeared to be safe after getting a public nod of support from the school’s board of governors.
The day began with a letter of resignation sent to Barchi by AD Tim Pernetti, who said he hoped his tenure at Rutgers “will not be judged by this one incident.”
When he first saw the video of coach Mike Rice pushing, shoving and throwing balls at players in November, Pernetti said he wanted to fire him on the spot. However, he said the consensus among school officials at the time was that it didn’t warrant dismissal.
The video, shown Tuesday on ESPN, prompted outrage not only on the Rutgers campus but nationwide. It also includes obscenities and slurs, which the campus is especially sensitive because of the suicide by student Tyler Clementi, who jumped off a bridge days after his roommate used a webcam to see him kissing another man.
At a news conference Friday, Barchi said he first saw the video this week, but was aware it existed in late November. He said Pernetti gave him a summary of what was on it at the time.
“This was a failure of process. I regret that I did not ask to see this video when Tim first told me of its existence,” Barchi said. “I want to apologize to the entire Rutgers community for the negative impact that this situation has had on Rutgers.
“I also apologize to the LGBT 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.”