Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti resigns

Tim Pernetti helped lead Rutgers into the Big Ten conference before losing his job.
Elsa/Getty Images/File
Tim Pernetti helped lead Rutgers into the Big Ten conference before losing his job.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The Rutgers basketball scandal claimed two more university officials on Friday, the athletic director and an interim senior vice president, who were involved in a decision to ‘‘rehabilitate’’ rather than fire the coach whose abusive behavior was captured on a video.

University president Robert Barchi’s job appeared to be safe after getting a public nod of support from the school’s board of governors.

The day began with a letter of resignation sent to Barchi by AD Tim Pernetti, who said he hoped his tenure at Rutgers ‘‘will not be judged by this one incident.’’


When he first saw the video of coach Mike Rice pushing, shoving, and throwing balls at players in November, Pernetti said he wanted to fire him on the spot. However, he said the consensus among school officials at the time was that it didn’t warrant dismissal.

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At a news conference Friday, Barchi said he first saw the video this week, but was aware it existed in November. He said Pernetti gave him a summary of what was on it at the time.

‘‘This was a failure of process. I regret that I did not ask to see this video when Tim first told me of its existence,’’ Barchi said. ‘‘I want to apologize to the entire Rutgers community for the negative impact that this situation has had on Rutgers.’’

Based on the information he received from Pernetti, Barchi said he ‘‘agreed with and supported his recommendation to suspend, rather than fire, coach Rice at that time. It was not until Tuesday evening of this week, when I watched the video, that I had the opportunity to witness personally for the first time what Tim had seen last fall.’’

Pernetti was given the video by a former employee, Eric Murdock, and the decision was made in December to suspend Rice for three games, fine and dock his pay totaling $75,000, and order him to attend anger management classes.


Also resigning Friday was John B. Wolf, Rutgers’s interim senior vice president and general counsel, who is believed to have recommended against firing Rice in December. On Thursday, assistant coach Jimmy Martelli resigned.

Murdock, a Providence College product who played in the NBA for nine seasons, filed a whistleblower lawsuit Friday, alleging Rutgers violated the state’s employee protection act and his contract. He said he wrote to the university in July about Rice’s ‘‘unlawful conduct,’’ and gave the university the video in November.

Murdock was the director of player of development for the program. His contract wasn’t renewed in July. He said he was let go after a dispute with Rice about skipping the coach’s youth basketball camp and, ultimately, because he complained to university officials about Rice’s mistreatment of players.