Rutgers head won’t resign
by Jerry Carino, USA TODAY Sports
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., — Citing a “failure of process,” Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi tried Friday to explain the resignation of popular athletics director Tim Pernetti and the chain of command’s failure to deal with a basketball video scandal that this week caused a national sensation.
“There is no question that big-time athletics have some risks,” Barchi, who has been on the job less than a year, told a packed news conference. “I didn’t expect to see them so quickly.”
Barchi’s main thrust was twofold: First, that he did not watch the video of Rice mistreating players when it first was presented in November because he entrusted Pernetti to handle things appropriately. Second, that he would not heed considerable public pressure to resign because he serves at the pleasure of the university’s board of governors.
“I regret that I did not ask to see the video when Tim first told me of its existence,” Barchi said, “because I am certain that this situation would have had a very different outcome had I done so.”
The president concluded his opening statement with a raft of apologies.
“I want to personally apologize to the entire Rutgers community for the negative impact this situation has had on Rutgers,” he said. “I apologize to any student-athletes on the team who have been personally harmed.”
Taking questions from media members, Barchi acknowledged he has critics but urged them to “step back and take a breath.”
Support for Barchi came from a high place as Gov. Chris Christie released a laudatory statement shortly after the news conference.
“The decision today by Athletic Director Tim Pernetti to resign is appropriate and necessary given the events of the past six months,” Christie’s statement said. “I commend President Barchi for his decisive leadership in coming to an agreement with Mr. Pernetti to have the Athletic Department of Rutgers University come under new leadership.”
Barchi repeatedly was asked why he did not take 30 minutes to watch the video in November after being informed of its contents, which included clips of head coach Mike Rice pushing players, throwing and kicking basketballs at them and using gay slurs. In … [For more on Rutgers head says he won't resign, gets board support, click here.]