Rutgers’ move may have delayed firing
by Keith Sargeant, USA TODAY Sports
NEW BRUNSWICK — It’s one thing when Saturday Night Live makes fun of the affair enveloping the Rutgers University campus with a skit mocking Mike Rice, a light-hearted depiction of an out-of-control women’s basketball coach who throws toasters at her players and drives a golf cart on the court.
It’s quite another when the ESPN investigative program that started it all compares the affair to the most infamous political scandal of all time.
“One of the great questions, and it almost resonates from Watergate, is who knew what and when did they know it,” Bob Ley, ESPN’s award-winning host, said midway through the “Outside the Lines” report detailing the Rutgers controversy.
Five days after the Rutgers scandal became national news with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” unveiling of an explosive videotape showing Rice physically and verbally abusing his Scarlet Knights men’s basketball players, more layers to the story were peeled back by the network’s investigative show Sunday morning.
The focus of John Barr’s report centered on what Rutgers President Robert Barchi knew, and what he should have done to remedy the latest in a string of scandals that has rocked college athletics.
The report details how the Rutgers president admits to being informed of Rice’s behavior, and yet opted not to review the videotape provided by former Rutgers basketball aide Eric Murdock in late November – mere days after Barchi sat front and center as the university enhanced its athletic profile by joining the Big Ten Conference.
It begins with Barchi delivering his now-famous line – “This was a failure of process” – and continues with Barr saying, “but the process is made of people and after a tumultuous week at Rutgers University a head coach (Rice), an assistant coach (Jimmy Martelli), the athletics director (Tim Pernetti) and the university general counsel (John Wolf) are all out of their jobs. The reason: the now infamous Mike Rice practice tapes.”
It details Pernetti’s decision to suspend Rice for three games without pay and fine the first major coach he hired $50,000 rather than fire him after commissioning outside counsel to investigate Murdock’s assertions.
Belinda Edmondson, director of women’s and gender … [For more on Rutgers' Big Ten move could have delayed Mike Rice firing, click here.]