In Coaching: Good/Bad/Unfair

TWO down, ONE to go!

Four hours ago, Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned in the wake of the BLATANT coaching abuse scandal of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice that had been allowed to go on virtually uninterrupted after it had been reported last summer. Rice had been given a slap on the wrist in December after a six month “investigation,” fined $50,000 and suspended for three games. Then he was allowed to come back and continue to physically and emotionally abuse his players, pushing and kicking them, throwing basketballs at their heads, swearing and demeaning them and using homophobic slurs. It was only after ESPN aired the telling videos that AD Pernetti found it necessary to fire Rice.

Apparently the heat became too much for Rutgers over the past few days and Pernetti was pressured to resign by school President Robert Barchi. Many thought Pernetti’s position was safe as AD because he had recently landed a lucarative deal for Rutgers to be part of the Big 10. But even the big bucks couldn’t stop the public outcry after those horrific videos of Coach Rice’s practices hit the airwaves!

So what’s the score now? TWO DOWN, ONE TO GO! It seems that the AD passed the buck on his decision to “rehabilitate” Rice, basing it on the University’s lawyer who said that “you can’t fire the basketball coach.” So Pernetti explained his decision to give Rice another chance by implying “it was the legal advice that made me do it!” Tell me, what kind of a leader shirks his responsibility to lead and protect when the student-athletes that he is charged to protect are being so blatantly abused? Well, obviously not a good one!

Then, in a press conference a few minutes ago, Rutgers president Robert Barchi threw Pernetti under the bus by saying that had he seen the video earlier than just three days ago, he would have fired Rice! Why isn’t Mr. Barchi taking responsibility as the leader of the University? What happened to the mantra of a great leader, “the buck stops here!”? I’ll tell you what happened! President Barchi allowed this appaling garbage to go on during his watch and the fact that he didn’t know about it is outrageous! Again, the sign of a very broken system!

Many of the college’s faculty are calling for the president to resign! Not a bad idea, especially given that it’s a lack of leadership and courage which allows this kind of abuse to continue! The bottom line is this: The student-athletes are supposed to be more important than the coach, the AD and the program’s statistical success. The PRIMARY and ONLY purpose of sports, even at the college level, is to develop young people, NOT to have winning seasons and get to the Final Four! The Rutgers coach, AD and President completely lost sight of this!


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