New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) released a statement Friday afternoon reacting to the resignation of Rutgers University’s Athletic Director Tim Pernetti in the wake of a scandal that erupted after ESPN released a video showing the school’s former basketball coach shouting gay slurs, pushing and throwing balls at players during a practice.
Rutgers has been criticized for initially deciding to “rehabilitate” Rice rather than firing him when his behavior first became known. Rice was fired Wednesday, a move that was applauded by Christie at the time.
“The decision today by Athletic Director Tim Pernetti to resign is appropriate and necessary given the events of the past six months. I commend President Barchi for his decisive leadership in coming to an agreement with Mr. Pernetti to have the Athletic Department of Rutgers University come under new leadership,” the governor said in his statement today.
“This entire incident was regrettable and while it has damaged the reputation of our state University, we need to move forward now on a number of fronts which provide great opportunities for Rutgers’ future,” Christie continued. “Completing the ground-breaking merger agreement with UMDNJ. Preparing for our academic and athletic entry into the Big 10 conference. Implementing Rutgers’ share of New Jersey’s $1.3 billion capital commitment to higher education. Finally, conducting a national search for a new athletic director and a new men’s basketball coach for athletic competition next year and in 2014 for our entry to the Big 10.”
Christie closed by thanking Pernetti for his past service to the school and for “taking responsibility” for his part in the video scandal.
“I want to thank Tim Pernetti for his many contributions to Rutgers as a student, athlete and athletic director and for taking responsibility for his role in this difficult episode in the 250 year history of Rutgers University.”