Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti Resigns

Says his first instinct was to fire coach Rice last year

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 5, 2013 10:30 AM CDT | Updated Apr 5, 2013 12:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – The fallout over Rutgers abusive basketball coach Mike Rice continues to spread, with athletic director Tim Pernetti resigning under pressure today, reports ESPN. "I always tried my best to do what is right," he said in his resignation letter. Pernetti also seemed to deflect some of the blame for not firing Rice last year. "My first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice's behavior was to fire him immediately," he wrote, adding that Rutgers instead asked lawyers and human resources professionals to assess the matter. The consensus that emerged was to fine Rice, not fire him. "I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved," wrote Pernetti.

In addition, assistant coach Jimmy Martelli resigned Wednesday, saying in a statement that he was "sickened" that he "contributed in any way to an unacceptable culture," reports the Star-Ledger. Martelli was also shown shoving students in the video. Despite the abuse, two of Rice's players have expressed support for their former coach, notes the AP. "You can't let those individual moments define what he was," says one player, adding, "I have grown from the moment I stepped in these doors, not only as a player but also as a person because of how he has treated me."

Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti speaking to reporters, from Feb. 26, 2009.
Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti speaking to reporters, from Feb. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)
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