In a radio interview, Pernetti defended his stance to put Rutgers first.
“The most important thing I am factoring in is trying to make sure that we don’t do harm to Rutgers University, because we are a small slice of the pie here at this great place,” he said. “I don’t want to put any negatively on the university when we have a lot of real good things going on.”
Former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice spoke with WCBS-TV about the videos that show him abusing players and the university's decision to fire him.
If a university fails to protect its students, and then wastes an opportunity to set an example in removing an abuser from campus, none of its other accomplishments really matter much.
Success in football and basketball can greatly enhance a university’s overall image. Appearances in high-profile bowl games and the NCAA basketball tournament provide a financial windfall for some schools. When it comes to attracting donors and new students, nothing brings ’em in like winning.
What’s happening at Rutgers now, however, has brought the type of attention that only damages credibility. And with Rutgers being the state university of New Jersey, the people who run the state have every right to demand answers about the mistakes that were made.
Pernetti should be required to give a detailed account of the process that led to Rice keeping his job as long as he did. And if any other Rutgers administrators viewed the video before Rice was suspended and fined, they also should be held accountable for failing to go public with what they saw, or at least notifying officials outside the university about the situation. It seems New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has questions.
On Wednesday, Christie watched the video for the first time, “and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior,” according to a statement. “It’s not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people, and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University.”
You get only one opportunity to do something right the first time. Rutgers missed its chance. That’s what happens when athletic departments forget about the athletes.
For previous Jason Reid columns, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.