Rutgers Athletic Director Speaks After Stepping Down - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Rutgers Athletic Director Speaks After Stepping Down

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Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti stepped down just days after video surfaces of former basketball coach Mike Rice unleashing on players.

It's been a rocky week for Rutgers, and on Friday the university president answered some tough questions.

Pernetti saw that violent video five months ago but failed to fire Rice.

He spoke a short time ago about what stepping down means for him.

"It's a sad day for a lot of people me, including me and my family. And, you know, I always have and always will, no matter what, want what's best for Rutgers," he said.

Rutgers University president Dr. Robert Barchi said over and over Friday that, if he could go back and do the whole thing over again, he would have asked to see the tape after being told of the incident.

Maybe then, it wouldn't have took months for action to be taken against Rice.

But if anyone was expecting Barchi to resign, that was never the plan.

"I think about resigning every day when I wake up," Barchi said, drawing laughter from assembled media, "Because, let's be honest, I don't have a contract here."

Barchi faced a tough crowd at the press conference with mounting pressure for him to step down.

That decision is ultimately in the hands of the board of governors and they have made it clear that he's not going anywhere.

"And I think he is the right person to run this place for many years to come," said Board of Governors Chair Ralph Izzo.

These statements came hours after athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned from his position. And that news came just after the firing of Rice and Thursday's resignation of his assistant coach, Jimmy Martelli.

Pernetti's resignation letter says his first instinct was to fire Rice when seeing the video in December of the head coach abusing athletes physically and using homophobic slurs. But, according to Pernetti's letter, he says the legal process and review of university policies would not justify that.

"There's no question here that Tim Pernetti is a quality person, an outstanding person. But for the university to learn and grow from this and to heal, this is the best course of action," Izzo said.

Students say Pernetti was used as a scapegoat for a board of governors, who ultimately dropped the ball.

"Three members saw the tape when it came out, and they completely supported Tim Pernetti. And, once it's out in the spotlight, they're completely fine with him taking the fall. And he almost becomes the sacrificial lamb, in a way," student Evan Murphy said.

It's clear that many students we spoke with don't blame Barchi for what happened or accuse him of trying to cover up the situation in any way.

They do say, though, this is part of a bigger problem on campus, where issues such as bullying are mainly just not dealt with, FOX 29's Stephanie Salvatore reported from the campus Friday night.

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