Pernetti’s job status was actually arrived at Thursday by the school, a source said. Rutgers president Robert L. Barchi will hold a news conference on campus at 1 p.m. ET.
Like Pernetti, Barchi was sharply criticized for Rice remaining on the job as coach for as long as he did. Barchi is “highly likely” to remain with the university, a source said.
Pernetti’s ouster follows his firing of Rice on Wednesday and the resignation of assistant coach Jimmy Martelli, who also was seen on tape treating players in a like manner. The video was obtained by “Outside the Lines” and aired on ESPN on Tuesday.
More than 50 Rutgers faculty members had signed a letter calling for the dismissal of Pernetti for his handling of the Rice situation. Pernetti, with the approval of Barchi, initially suspended Rice three games in December 2012 and fined him $50,000. Eric Murdock, the former director of player development for the Scarlet Knights, told “Outside The Lines” that he spoke with Pernetti in June and November about Rice’s mistreatment of players. Murdock, who was fired by Rice and Pernetti in early July, also told ESPN that was not contacted beyond his November discussion with Pernetti and other university officials.
Murdock told “Outside the Lines” that Rice’s “outrageous” behavior had caused at least three players to transfer from the team. Murdock’s attorney, Raj Gadhok, has said Murdock intends to sue Rutgers for wrongful termination.
Last month, Pernetti was named one of Sports Business Journal’s five finalists for athletic director of the year and it appeared he would survive based on his past accomplishments at the school.
Sources told ESPN that at least three Rutgers board members witnessed the video of Rice last year and agreed with the suspension and fine as punishment. Barchi said he did not view the practice video until this week.
A 1993 Rutgers graduate who was hired as Rutgers’ AD in April 2009, Pernetti was instrumental in Rutgers moving from the Big East to the Big Ten Conference for 2014. Because of the move, Rutgers will increase its media rights revenue from about $3 million annually in the Big East to more than $40 million annually by 2017, sources said.
However, Stephen Sweeney, the president of the state Senate, still called for Pernetti to step down or be fired. Sweeney said Pernetti deserved credit for getting Rutgers into the Big Ten but he mishandled what Rice had done within the program.
“This incident will continue to hang over Rutgers like a dark cloud for weeks, months and perhaps years to come,” the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement Thursday. “It seems pretty clear that things were not handled well from the start.”
However, there were some prominent former Rutgers football players who wanted Pernetti to remain.
NFL All-Pro running back Ray Rice said when he returned to campus recently after the Ravens won the Super Bowl in February, Pernetti’s main message was positive and inspirational — he wanted Rice to complete his degree.
“That was what he wanted,” Rice told the Star-Ledger of Newark. “He was telling me that to be a true pillar at Rutgers I needed to graduate. He wanted me to register for some online courses so I can get that done. I mean, I just won a Super Bowl and that’s what he wanted!”
Defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed as a result of injuries sustained in a 2010 Rutgers game, also backed Pernetti.
“When you’re in a situation like I have been for the past 2½ years, you truly see the character of people,” LeGrand told the Star-Ledger. “Tim Pernetti has shown me and Rutgers how great of a person he really is, and how much he really cares.”
Reprinted from SportsCenter