Athletic Director Tim Pernetti announces at a news conference last fall… (Elsa / Getty Images )
Rutgers, embroiled in the fallout from a college basketball scandal, will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT Friday to announce that Tim Pernetti will be fired as athletic director, according to multiple reports citing anonymous sources.
Pernetti and university President Robert Barchi have both come under fire from faculty and New Jersey lawmakers for a failure to report abusive behavior by men's basketball coach Mike Rice, who was disciplined last year after an independent internal investigation.
Rice was fired Wednesday after video was aired Tuesday on ESPN showing him hitting, shoving and throwing basketballs at players. Rice also used gay slurs during verbal attacks on his players. Eric Murdock, former director of player development, made the original complaint and provided video to Rutgers administrators last year.
Pernetti and Barchi suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes following the investigation.
More than 50 faculty members have signed a letter asking for Pernetti to be removed and more than two dozen have called for Barchi to be fired. The faculty members said in a letter that they've sent to the university's governing board that Barchi knew enough last year to remove Rice as coach.
“Although President Barchi is now suggesting otherwise, he has known about Coach Rice's homophobic, misogynist and abusive behavior for several months now,” the faculty wrote in the letter. “Not only did he not fire Coach Rice, he in essence covered up the coach's actions by failing to tell faculty and students about them.”
The president of the state Senate joined the fray Thursday, asking for Pernetti to resign or be fired and a review of Barchi to begin.
“This incident will continue to hang over Rutgers like a dark cloud for weeks, months and perhaps years to come,” said state Sen. Stephen Sweeney. “It seems pretty clear that things were not handled well from the start.”
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