Embattled Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned Friday morning, amid public outrage over his office’s handling of former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice’s physical abuse scandal.
The 42-year-old Pernetti is the latest casualty in a physical and verbal abuse scandal that has rocked the college basketball world. On Monday, ESPN released portions of a video in which Rice, whom Pernetti hired in 2010, can be seen physically and verbally attacking his players. Rice was fired two days later, more than four months after the incident first took place.
Pernetti has been the subject of heavy criticism over his perceived leniency toward Rice in the wake of his tantrums. While the athletic director did suspend Rice for three games and fine him $50,000 in December, critics, including New Jersey political officials and Rutgers alumni, believe that he should have been fired immediately.
Pernetti, a former Rutgers athlete, was instrumental in resurrecting a beleaguered Rutgers University athletic department, moving the program from the crumbling Big East to the Big 10. In a letter of resignation addressed to Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi, Pernetti expressed hope that his stint at the school ''will not be judged by this one incident.''
You can read Pernetti’s entire letter of resignation below:
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TIM PERNETTI'S RESIGNATION LETTER
Dr. Robert L. Barchi, President
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
83 Somerset Street New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1281
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.
Class of 1993