Pernetti, who was integral in Rutgers' move to the Big 10, is out of a job some 24 hours after he fired Mike Rice, the head basketball coach who is the central figure of a video in which he shoves players, hurls basketballs at them and berates them with gay slurs.
Last November, Pernetti received a copy of the video and after an investigation decided in December to suspend Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.
"Accountability is a vital element of the Rutgers athletics family," Pernetti said at the time, "and it is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner."
boiled over Tuesday when ESPN's 'Outside the Lines' aired portions of the 30-minute video. In it, Rice can be seen throwing basketballs at a player's head, shoving them and calling one player an "f---ing fairy" and an "f---ing fa--ot."
The video went viral, public outrage ensued – it drew criticism from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – and Wednesday Pernetti did what many believed he should have done months ago. In explaining Rice's firing, Pernetti said "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."
Pernetti, 42, will not get the chance.
In his letter of resignation to university president Dr. Robert L. Barchi, Pernetti wrote, "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."
Barchi, who has also come under fire, said he did not see the video until Tuesday. "I regret that I did not ask to see the video when Tim first told me of its existence because I am certain that this situation would have had a very different outcome had I done so," Barchi said at a news conference on Friday.
Pernetti's departure is no small blow to Rutgers. A former tight end for the Scarlet Knights, Pernetti was hired as the school's athletic director in 2009. He was instrumental in the university's move to the Big 10, which was announced last November and scheduled to begin in 2014.
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