On Wednesday morning, Rutgers University made the decision to fire head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice amid the turmoil that has been associated with a number of video clips showing abuse and derogatory language being shed on Scarlet Knight athletes.
With Rice now out of the way, the fire storm that may be brewing may only just be getting started.
While the pressure from the media and people outside the university continues to push the decision-making of the university, other reports indicate that even faculty members at Rutgers are appalled. According to a report, at least 13 faculty members at Rutgers are calling for President Robert Barchi to resign and step down from his position.
In addition, there is also the demand for athletic director Tim Pernetti to walk away from his position. On Wednesday afternoon however, Rutgers did release a statement saying that Pernetti’s job was safe for the time being. You see, Pernetti is currently one of five finalists for the Athletic Director of the Year award for his work at the school and the job that he did during the Scarlet Knights’ move to the Big Ten Conference. Rutgers plans to join the Big Ten in 2014.
While Rice’s situation quickly became obvious, there are still way too many questions that are surfacing. The fact that these actions took place two or three years ago and the fact that Pernetti only suspended Rice for three games for these actions initially is simply out of this world. Then President Barchi said that he had seen the tapes in the past, only to release a statement yesterday claiming he only just watched them after theOutside the Lines report was issued. So which is it?
A number of media outlets are calling for Pernetti and Barchi to step down. Public perception of the university is at an all-time low obviously and even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been involved in making his opinions known.
Here’s the bottom line — no mater what good Rice, Pernetti and Barchi have done for the university it has now gone out the window. The public perception of these three and the university is virtually impossible to fix and with Rutgers indeed making the move to the Big Ten Conference, they need to cut their losses and find replacements who can take them away from this dark situation.
It’s an unfortunate scenario and one that surely Rutgers and the three aforementioned people did not want to happen, but it did.
Time for Rutgers to man up and move forward with new leadership from both a university and athletic standpoint.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS