On Friday morning, Rutgers University announced that athletic director Tim Pernetti had resigned from his position amid the turmoil and public scrutiny that has accompanied the school and men’s basketball program this past week.
Head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired on Wednesday morning after tapes aired of him and fellow assistant coach Jimmy Martelli throwing basketball, shoving and using derogatory language towards players.
Pernetti suspended Rice earlier in the season for just three games for his actions and following the release of the video tapes, public perception clearly agreed that that punishment did not fit the bill.
On Friday afternoon following an official press conference from president Robert Barchi, Rutgers released Pernetti’s letter of resignation:
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
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS