PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — As Rutgers works to mend its image in the wake of this week’s firing of basketball coach Mike Rice, Tim Pernetti’s position as athletic director now appears to be in jeopardy as well.
Pernetti dismissed Rice after a videotape aired on ESPN showing the coach using gay slurs against players during practice as well as shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at them. Pernetti was made aware of the tape last fall but after an initial investigation only chose to suspend Rice.
Since Wednesday’s firing, there have been growing calls for Pernetti himself to be canned, coming from Rutgers faculty and state lawmakers. But there’s also a push to keep him, playing out largely on social media. Pernetti himself has not spoken to the media over the last couple days.
When Pernetti was hired as AD in Rutgers in 2009, he was touted as the right man to continue the school’s push toward respectability. He’s a New Jersey native who played tight end for the Scarlet Knights.