In the wake of former Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice being fired after a video surfaced showing him physically and verbally assaulting players during practices, Tim Pernetti has stepped down as the athletic director at Rutgers.
UPDATE: Friday, April 5 at 1:24 a.m. ET by Eric Ball
Pernetti's resignation letter has been posted on Rutgers' official website, scarletknights.com:
Dear Dr. Barchi:
I write in confirmation of our conversation earlier today during which we agreed that it was in the best interests of Rutgers University that I step down from my position as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. I do so reluctantly because I always have and always will love Rutgers. I want to thank the people who have supported me throughout my years as a student-athlete and Athletic Director and help them understand my reasoning in this situation.
My continued tenure as Athletic Director is no longer sustainable for the University which I attended and where a piece of me will always remain. In connection with the incidents involving former basketball Coach Mike Rice, as was the case with all other matters which I handled on behalf of the University, I always tried my best to do what is right. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today. As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice's behavior was to fire him immediately. However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel. Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved.
I trust that my tenure at Rutgers will not be judged by this one incident. I am proud of my efforts to lead Rutgers into the Big Ten, and of all of the accomplishments of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the field of play. I want to thank our great fans, the hardest working staff in collegiate athletics, and every one of our fine student-athletes. It has been my great pleasure to serve my alma mater.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Friday, April 5 at 11:24 a.m. ET by Mike Chiari
The Pernetti situation has finally come to a close, as Brett McMurphy of ESPN is now reporting that the former Rutgers athletic director has decided to resign.
Based on earlier reports, Pernetti's resignation is merely a formality, as he would have been relieved of his duties regardless. Rather than actually firing Pernetti, the university allowed him to go out on his own terms.
--End of update--
UPDATE: Friday, April 5 at 10:38 a.m. ET by Mike Chiari
It appears as though Pernetti's run as Rutgers athletic director has officially come to an end, as Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com is reporting that the university has decided to part ways with the embattled AD.
Although it is still unclear whether Pernetti was fired or resigned willingly, McMurphy is also reporting that the decision to oust Pernetti was made on Thursday.
---End of update---
According to Tara Sullivan of The Record (N.J.), sources are reporting that Pernetti is on his way out. The only question is whether the university will terminate his contract or Pernetti will step down willingly.
The Rutgers basketball program is certainly in turmoil right now, and that turmoil figures to spread across Scarlet Knights athletics with Pernetti being removed from power.
According to ESPN.com, a former employee gave Pernetti videos of Rutgers practices on Nov. 26. After reviewing them, Pernetti fined Rice $50,000, suspended him for three games and ordered that he attend anger-management classes.
ESPN's Outside the Lines recently acquired the practice footage, which features Rice pushing players, throwing basketballs at them and calling them derogatory names, among other things. Pernetti acknowledged on Outside the Lines earlier in the week that Rice's actions were unacceptable, but he didn't seem to have any intention of firing Rice.
Pernetti later backpedaled, however, and made the decision to terminate Rice. Per ESPN.com, he said the following:
I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December, and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.
Although the reasoning behind Pernetti's reported dismissal can only be speculated upon at this time, it seems as though his failure to take swift and appropriate action against Rice has led to a hailstorm of criticism against the university, and Rutgers is unwilling to let it continue.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter