One casualty in the wake of the Rutgers men’s basketball scandal this spring involving Coach Mike Rice was Rutgers’ well-liked Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti, a J/MS alum from 1993. Pernetti handed in his resignation April 5 after Rutgers was rocked by a video made public showing Rice shoving players and berating them with anti-gay slurs.
Pernetti had suspended Rice last December after seeing the video but sent him to an anger management program and fined him instead of firing 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,” he stated.
Pernetti was lauded in November for helping secure a coveted invitation for Rutgers to join the Big Ten Conference in 2014, a move that guarantees national exposure and significant television revenue.
Since the firing, there were numerous calls to reinstate Pernetti, especially from wealthy athletic donors and alumni, among them Andy Sisti.
“Tim is the face of Rutgers athletics,” noted Sisti. “He guided us to the Big Ten through his skill and diplomacy. He is one of our own, which is evident in his passion for Rutgers.”
Pernetti, an Oakland resident, did not walk away empty-handed, however. He is getting $1.2 million in salary, plus an iPad, car allowance and more than two years of health insurance coverage under a settlement agreement. He gets the money even if he takes another job. Rutgers agreed to represent Pernetti in any lawsuits related to his job as athletic director.
In addition, the university agreed not to say anything bad about Pernetti to the media or prospective employers, and Pernetti agreed not to disparage the school publicly, though he is allowed to speak truthfully about the Rice situation, according to news reports. He also agreed to cooperate in any investigations by the school, NCAA or legal authorities.
A former tight end for the Scarlet Knights and vice president and general manager for CBS College Sports Network, Pernetti served in the AD’s post since 2009. He was only the third AD since 1972.
Pernetti mostly worked in the media since his graduation, and covering collegiate athletics had been his life until being named AD. From 1994 to 2003 he worked in various programming positions at ABC Sports before becoming vice president for programming at College Sports Television, the first national television network devoted entirely to collegiate athletics. CSTV was sold to CBS in 2006.
He had also been a color commentator for the Rutgers Football Radio Network.
Carl Kirschner, a former dean, has taken the AD’s job temporarily.
Rutgers has a new basketball coach, too. He is Eddie Jordan, who was assistant coach for the LA Lakers.