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What is next for the Rutgers administration in wake of Mike Rice’s firing? (VIDEO)

Apr 3, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT

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Once the state’s governor goes as far to release a statement regarding the coaching situation at a school, it’s all but done. When that governor is Chris Christie, a man with a good deal of national visibility, it’s really done.

Rutgers fired head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice Wednesday morning after video leaked to the press that showed the him grabbing and pushing players, as well as using profane language that included a homophobic slur. The move prompted a nod of approval from Christie’s office, via his Twitter account.

But there is one overriding problem that remains in this situation. The man guilty of the acts themselves is gone, but what about athletic director Tim Pernetti? Pernetti was the one who found Rice’s suspension early in the season satisfactory enough and, had this video not leaked or had whistleblower Eric Murdock not left the program, Rice might still have his job today.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Pernetti said in a statement Wednesday. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

This was not an isolated incident, like the shove we know of that happened between Mike Montgomery and Allen Crabbe earlier this season at California. The tape leaked Tuesday at Rutgers showed a pattern of behavior over a period of time.

The question will ultimately come down to how much accountability there is within that particular program. Should the four-month delay between the evidence of the wrongdoing and firing of Rice be enough to oust Pernetti as well? Does it even go higher up the chain of command beyond him?

With that in mind, there appears to be a contradiction in what Rutgers president Robert Barchi has said about the timing of when he viewed the tape:

“Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior,” Barchi said, as reported by NJ.com. “I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public accountability.”

That runs contradictory to this question to Pernetti, via NJ.com:

Q. Has Rutgers president Robert Barchi seen the tape – and if not, has he been made aware of everything that’s on it?
A. “Yes and yes. President Barchi and I worked closely together when this issue came up. We worked closely together with members of the board. He’s a lot like me. We deal with everything in the wide open. We had the same concerns but we felt strongly that the actions that we took was important to take and deal with it.”

Rutgers has not released any specific statements about the job status of Pernetti yet, but the old adage rings true again in this situation. The coverup is typically worse than the crime. Had Pernetti and Rutgers officials fired Rice at the time of the initial viewing of the tape, the public might have slapped them on the wrist for not knowing about the events at practice sooner and it would have been Big East and college basketball news.

But now, with the national spotlight focused upon them, Pernetti and Rutgers have to answer questions about how they viewed that footage and came to the conclusion that a suspension was enough and the incidents depicted merited no further action. And that is not an easy one to answer at this point.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. mogogo1 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    It boggles the mind how anybody could see that number of incidents on tape and keep the guy on staff. Throwing balls at guys heads? Kicking players? Screaming slurs with no instruction being offered at all? Who would have thought that an anger management course would fix that sort of behavior, or that it was the appropriate response for actions that far over-the-line? Is this guy married? Because I’d bet his wife has some really sad stories she could tell.

  2. barbeaux - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Fire the AD

  3. drez146 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    The AD needs to be fired also

  4. sdelmonte - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    The AD and the president both need to go.

  5. ningenito78 - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Tim Pernetti stays. This is a nation of second chances and Pernetti gave Mike Rice one. Unfortunately, the behavior was so abhorrent that that decision looks ridiculous now. However, Pernetti has done a lot of good for Rutgers and deserves a second chance himself. I’m having a tough time defending him today but within a week this will be out of the news cycle and he’ll be able to push forward. But this is it. He doesn’t get a third chance. And I don’t think it will ever come to that.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Where is the NCAA in all of this? Isn’t all the nonsense they do suppose to protect the student athlete? It seems to me the AD would be in big trouble for not report this infraction.

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