Rutgers president’s defense a joke
by Christine Brennan, USA TODAY Sports
Rutgers is Penn State all over again.
It’s another sports program at a major university run amok. It’s athletic department leaders who look the other way and/or make very wrong decisions.
And when the outside world finds out, those leaders duck for cover and call it a “failure of process,” not the very personal failing that it is.
The Penn State scandal occurred not even a year and a half ago. The Rutgers news exploded this week. Who’s next? We know there is a next. We know there is another big-time program waiting to self-destruct as soon as the light of day shines on its transgressions.
Will huge athletics departments ever learn? Furthermore, will universities and their power-grabbing presidents ever admit that they are so beholden to their big-time sports programs that they’ve completely lost their way?
For that’s clearly the case when Rutgers president Robert Barchi was unable to find five minutes between last November and this Tuesday to view a videotape that involved the men’s basketball coach hurling homophobic slurs, as well as basketballs, at his players.
Barchi remains at his post. But for how long? He certainly provided plenty of reasons to be fired during Friday’s press conference, which was called to explain the ouster of athletics director Tim Pernetti, two days after he finally fired coach Mike Rice.
Asked repeatedly why he took so long to look at the videotape, Barchi said he regretted not looking at it last fall.
“I can’t answer exactly why I didn’t. The only thing I can say in retrospect is ‘sure wish I had,’” Barchi said. “I was still trying to find my way between my house and Old Queens without getting lost. They were sending the police out for me, getting lost on campus at that point. It’s not an excuse. I’m not making an excuse.”
Really? Sure sounds like one.
Asked if he was considering resigning, Barchi took another stab at humor, saying he wakes up every day not knowing if he will have to resign.
Who does Barchi think he is? E. Gordon Gee?
Barchi wins the inaugural Gee Award for completely inappropriate answers in the midst of a … [For more on Brennan: Rutgers president's defense a joke, click here.]