Should Rutgers President and Athletic Director Resign After Coach Rice Scandal?

Rutgers faculty, government officials, members of the public (and DiversityInc readers) are demanding answers to the Rutgers University basketball scandal involving physical abuse and homophobic slurs—and some are asking for the resignation of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and Rutgers President Dr. Robert Barchi.

Barchi and Pernetti

Barchi and Pernetti

Rutgers faculty, government officials, members of the public (and DiversityInc readers) are demanding answers to the Rutgers University basketball scandal involving physical abuse and homophobic slurs—and some are asking for the resignation of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and Rutgers President Dr. Robert Barchi.

Basketball Coach Mike Rice was fired yesterday after video of his actions surfaced. But when Pernetti first saw the video in November, he gave Rice a slap on the wrist and allowed him to continue coaching the men's basketball team. Because he was not fired at the time and completed the season, Rice will be paid a $100,000 bonus.

The controversy surfaced Tuesday night after ESPN aired video that showcased Rice in a rage, kicking and shoving students, throwing basketballs at their heads from close range, and using hateful, homophobic slurs like "f----t" to degrade them. Pernetti admittedly saw the video, and similar clips, in November, as did internal and external counsel. Some reports said Barchi also had seen any video, but a Rutgers statement yesterday implied he was aware of Rice's actions but never saw the video until Tuesday. In November, Rice was suspended for three games, fined $50,000 and required to receive anger-management counseling.

DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti, a member of the Rutgers Board of Trustees and of the Rutgers Board of Governors Standing Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, said he was never informed about Rice's anti-gay slurs or the fact that the video existed. Visconti says he had been told there was a disciplinary issue, which was addressed with the suspension.

Where's the Accountability for Leadership?

"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice," said Pernetti. "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."

Although Dr. Barchi said he did not see the video until this week, he is under scrutiny for not taking a more proactive role when Pernetti approached him about the need for disciplinary action against Rice. According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

Barchi never asked to see the video. ... It wasn't until late Tuesday that Barchi finally watched a DVD of the excerpts with Pernetti on the Piscataway campus. Amid growing outrage and calls from the governor to fire the embattled coach, the university president finally changed his mind about Rice, according to interviews with Rutgers officials.

Many are calling for the resignation of Pernetti, including DiversityInc readers, who responded to our initial coverage in "Why Did Rutgers Wait to Fire Coach After Anti-Gay and Abusive Actions?" For example:

  • Due to their failures, university President Dr. Robert Barchi and Athletic Director Tim Pernetti should now be fired—especially Pernetti.

  • Pernetti stating "Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community" is insufficient. He should not be given that opportunity to work to rebuild trust—he failed in his insufficient response to the long term misbehavior of his subordinate.

  • I would guess that if Barchi and Pernetti had heard the coach use the n-word or the c-word to demean the school's student players instead of antigay f-word pejorative the coach actually used, likely a fine, a three-day suspension, and an anger management class wouldn't have even been considered adequate at all. I don't see the difference between using a racist pejoratives, sexist pejorative, and anti-gay pejoratives: all pejoratives demean not only those who the terms are used against, but also demean known minority populations. Use of pejoratives by people drawing salary from the university shouldn't be tolerated at all by the university's management.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he was "deeply disturbed" by Rice's actions and expects Rutgers' administration to provide a full explanation "as to why Mr. Rice was not dismissed sooner and how exactly that decision was made. If answers aren't forthcoming, we are prepared to do what's needed to get them for the people of New Jersey."


NFL Owners Care More About Appeasing Trump Than About Colin Kaepernick, Leaked Audio Reveals

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula said the league needs a Black spokesperson — despite still not having any Black owners.

A leaked recording of a meeting between NFL players and owners apparently confirms the obvious: the owners want to please President Donald Trump — knowingly at Colin Kaepernick's expense. At least one owner suggested the league designate a Black spokesperson, while owners continue to take a "hands-off" approach.

Read More Show Less

NBA's Stephen Curry Lands TV, Film Deal with Sony Pictures

The development and production deal will focus on family, faith and sports-themed projects, and will "extend to opportunities in partnerships, electronics, gaming and virtual reality," the Sony-owned studio said in a statement.


(Reuters) — NBA star Stephen Curry has signed a multi-year film and television deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Hollywood studio said on Monday, as the Golden State Warriors player makes a play to be the latest athlete to break into entertainment.

Read More Show Less

Mavericks and 76ers Packed to Play in China

The games will be the 25th and 26th played in China while the Mavericks and 76ers will become the 16th and 17th teams as the NBA continues its push into the Asian market.

Dallas Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki (41) passes the ball against Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. / REUTERS

(Reuters) — The Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers will add their names to the list of clubs who have visited China when they play a pair of exhibition contests next season as part of NBA China Games, the league said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

NBA: Cleveland 'Lucky' to Beat Pacers, James Says after 100-97 win

Having faced the prospect of two opening losses in the best-of-seven series at home, Cleveland limped across the line, with LeBron James scoring a game-high 46 points.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after hitting a three-pointer during the second half in game two of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. / REUTERS

(Reuters) — The Cleveland Cavaliers were "lucky" to get the 100-97 win to level their NBA playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James said on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

NBA: Record Number of International Players Reach Postseason

All 16 teams competing in the playoffs will have at least one international player while the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers lead the way with seven foreign born players on each roster.


(Reuters) — The NBA postseason will have a distinct international flair with a record 62 foreign born players from 33 countries chasing a championship ring, the league said on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Stephens Serves Up Tennis to Inner City Youth

"We have to go into communities that are underprivileged and under-served and introduce tennis to them," Stephens said.


(Reuters) — U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens on Thursday unveiled refurbished tennis courts at a school in impoverished Compton, Calif., the latest in an ongoing effort by the African American player to expand the reach of the sport to minorities.

Read More Show Less

Flurry of Fouls Is Hurting NBA: Bryant

Rule changes like the outlawing in 2004 of hand checking had led to a less exciting game too often interrupted by a referee's whistle, said Bryant.


(Reuters) — NBA officiating has become too strict and is robbing the game of its physicality, helping less skilled players succeed while disrupting the flow of contests, five-time champion Kobe Bryant said on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less