Rutgers University President Robert Barchi apologized Friday for the decision to “rehabilitate” basketball coach Mike Rice after abusive behavior against students at the school initially came to light.
“I was deeply disturbed by the behavior the video revealed, which was much more abusive and pervasive than I had understood it to be,” he said at a news conference. “As Tim acknowledged wednesday, his decision to rehabilitate rather than fire coach rice was wrong. While I applaud Tim for his frank self-assessment, it is clear to me and to everyone who has seen this video recently just how egregious the offenses were and how out of keeping with the Rutgers community’s values they were. At the time, the legal team advising Tim and me agreed that the decision we made was within the bounds of reasonableness.”
Tim Pernetti, the school’s athletic director, said in a resignation letter that his first instict was to fire Mike Rice immediatelly, but added that he was bound by the analysis of other school officials and an outside legal counsel.
“As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of coach Rice’s behavior was to fire him immediately,” Pernetti explained. “However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resource personnel and professionals and outside council. Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role and my regret for that decision.”