President Barchi Accepts Resignation of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti

Read the president's statement

April 5, 2013

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi announced today that he has accepted the resignation of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti, effective immediately. “Tim and I mutually agreed that this is in the best interest of Rutgers. I appreciate the positive things that Tim has done for the university, but also recognize the gravity of recent developments in regard to the men’s basketball program,” President Barchi said at a news conference this morning. The president was joined at the news conference by Rutgers University Board of Governors Chair Ralph Izzo. Dr. Barchi and Pernetti announced on Wednesday that they had jointly decided to terminate the employment of Rutgers Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Rice, based in part on video excerpts of team practices showing abusive language and behavior by Rice toward his players. President Barchi first viewed the video Tuesday evening.

“This was a failure of process,” President Barchi said.  “I regret that I did not ask to see the video when Tim first told me of its existence, because I am certain this situation would have had a different outcome had I done so. I personally apologize to the entire Rutgers community – our faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and the many others who support the great work of this university – for the negative impact that this situation has had on Rutgers. I apologize to any student athletes on the team who may have been personally harmed; the kind of chronic and pervasively abusive behavior demonstrated on that video is unacceptable and does not represent the high standards of leadership and accountability we strive for within the Rutgers athletic program. I also apologize to the LGBTQ community and all of us who share their values, for the homophobic slurs shown on that video. I personally know how hurtful that language can be.”

The president added, “Tim Pernetti is a sincere and honest man, and a skilled athletic director with many strengths. With the exception of the Coach Rice matter, he has made a number of decisions that have positioned Rutgers Athletics well, including the negotiations that have brought Rutgers into the Big Ten. I believe he has always had the good of Rutgers and its student athletes in mind.  As I said, this mutual decision is in the best interest of Rutgers, and we will learn from this situation going forward. I respect and accept Tim’s decision to step down and I sincerely wish him well.”

Dr. Izzo said, “This week, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has been the focus of serious concern and scrutiny. I commend President Barchi for his handling of a very challenging set of circumstances. He has made difficult choices, which I believe are in the best long-term interests of Rutgers University.

“When President Barchi began his term at Rutgers eight months ago, the Board of Governors made it clear to him that his top priorities were successfully integrating the health sciences units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers and developing a strategic plan to shape and guide the university’s priorities over the next 10 years,” Dr. Izzo added. “These are significant tasks, and I know that I speak for the entire Board of Governors when I say that he is handling those tasks exceedingly well.”

President Barchi said he would soon announce the appointment of an interim director of intercollegiate athletics. He also said the university would move quickly to launch a nationwide search for Pernetti’s successor. Pernetti has served as director of intercollegiate athletics since April 1, 2009.

The president also announced that John Wolf, the university’s interim senior vice president and general counsel, has resigned from that position.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Serving nearly 60,000 students on campuses in Camden, Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers is one of only two New Jersey institutions represented in the prestigious Association of American Universities.