I don’t follow sports, but yesterday I was waiting for a haircut and ESPN was on, and I saw the mealymouthed performance of the President of Rutgers University, Robert Barchi, commenting on the assholic behavior of his now-fired basketball coach, Mike Rice, and now-resigned Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti.
Barchi on Friday called the eight-month odyssey “a failure of process.” His news conference marked the end of a week that had news going from bad to worse at Rutgers. Four people have lost their jobs: Rice, who was fired Wednesday morning; Wolf, the in-house counsel who resigned that night; Jimmy Martelli, an assistant basketball coach who also resigned Wednesday; and, finally, Pernetti, who left office Friday in what Barchi described as a “mutual decision” of his and Pernetti’s.
Rice is the guy who, during practice, called his players gay slurs, beaned them with basketballs, and generally showered them with abuse. Since we’re still indulging the fantasy that NCAA Division I college basketball is something other than a farm team for the NBA, this behavior from an educator should have been a firing offense, but since Rice was a
winning coach, nobody fired him. Now that someone leaked a tape of Rice’s greatest hits to ESPN, it’s house cleaning time at Rutgers. But Barchi clearly thinks he’s going to dodge the bullet even though there’s been a blood-letting among every other high-level official who got anywhere near that tape.
Unfortunately for “failure of process” Barchi, he was told about the tape by Pernetti in November, and given a chance to view it. He chose not to. It sounds to me like the process worked perfectly, because the AD raised a serious issue with his supervisor, who chose the “see no evil” approach. What failed is the human being at the top, not the fucking process. I sure hope Barchi ends up like Graham Spanier, because if a few more of these overpaid bloviating presidents are reminded that they have other duties than fund-raising, they might not let the next Mike Rice or Jerry Sandusky hang around as long.