Rutgers’ Athletic Director Has Resigned In Wake Of Basketball Scandal

Under pressure from faculty and media, Rutgers and embattled AD Tim Pernetti, who initially chose to suspend but not fire abusive basketball coach Mike Rice, have parted ways, ESPN reports.

Mel Evans / AP

Today, ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported that Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, who both hired coach Mike Rice and initially chose to retain him after video surfaced of the coach abusing his players, has been dismissed by the school. UPDATE: Pernetti appears to have sent a resignation letter, for what it’s worth.

The move came in the wake of tremendous media and internal pressure for Pernetti, who had been athletic director since 2009, to be dismissed; over 50 faculty members signed a letter to university president Robert Barchi insisting that he lose his job. But not all of the Rutgers’ community has insisted that Pernetti go: prominent members of the athletic family, including paralyzed former football player Eric LeGrand, NFL running back Ray Rice, and former NFL lineman Shaun O’Hara, called for Pernetti retain his job.

Pernetti is the third official to leave Rutgers; Rice and assistant coach Jimmy Martelli, who can also be seen in the video verbally and physically abusing players, were both fired. Pernetti helped set Rutgers up to join the Big Ten during his tenure, which will be a financial boon for the school. Previously, this had been thought to possibly be enough of an achievement to help him save his job.

Eric Murdock, a former staffer who released the video of Rice, has been seeking a $950,000 settlement from the school since December 27. Murdock’s lawyers say he was fired for presenting the video. However, sources at Rutgers told USA Today that Murdock’s contract was not renewed for insubordination, and his departure was unconnected to the video.

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