Rutgers to review practice tapes from all sports - NBC Sports

Rutgers to review practice tapes from all sports
As school continues to manage fallout from ex-basketball coach's player abuse, ex-AD Pernetti agrees to $1.2 million settlement
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Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi addresses the media during a press conference last week.
April 8, 2013, 6:04 pm

Rutgers officials are scrutinizing practice videos of all sports to see if any coach engaged in behavior like the type that cost men's basketball coach Mike Rice his job, the university president announced Monday.

The inquiry into Rice and how university officials responded is also going deeper as the school announced that it plans to hire a consultant to conduct an independent review.

University President Robert Barchi, speaking Monday during a town hall meeting on the school's Newark campus, said he wants any instances of bullying or homophobic language to be reported immediately.

He also reiterated that he wished he had viewed the video where Rice - whom Gov. Chris Christie on Monday called an "animal" - shoved players and called them gay slurs when it first surfaced in November, saying he would have fired Rice then.

Rice was fired last week only after the video became public. Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, an assistant basketball coach and the university's top lawyer also resigned last week, while some Rutgers faculty members and others called for Barchi to step down, too.

On Monday, Christie defended Barchi's performance while blasting Rice's behavior. He also criticized the reaction of those who knew about it and did not fire the coach months ago, when the video was given to university officials and viewed by - at least - Pernetti, university interim counsel John Wolf and Chairman Mark Hershhorn of the university Board of Governors' athletics committee.

It was Pernetti's job to know what the coach was doing, Christie said. According to a settlement the university provided to The Associated Press on Monday, Pernetti is receiving $1.25 million as he departs, along with perks ranging from health insurance for more than two years to a $12,000 annual car allowance until next year and his university-issued iPad.

Rutgers announced Monday that it was commissioning an independent review of Rice's conduct and the way the university responded to it. The board of governors will meet Thursday to discuss the review.

Also, board chairman Ralph Izzo said that while one board member - Hershhorn - had seen the video in December, it was not shown to other members. The topic of the coach's conduct was discussed at a committee meeting in December, but it was not discussed at the full board meeting that month.

Before hearing Hershorn's account, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney called on Hershorn to resign.

"Any trustee or member of the board of governors who witnessed the tape at any point before it was publicly aired, and took no action, should be removed or resign immediately," he said in a statement.

The scandal has prompted the FBI to investigate whether a former Rutgers basketball employee asked for money from Rutgers in exchange for not making the videos public, a person familiar with the investigation told AP on Sunday.

Asked about the FBI inquiry on Monday, Barchi said the agency wasn't called but came "on their own."

As the investigations mount, Christie said he did not believe that state lawmakers should have an inquiry of their own, saying Rutgers is investigating and that holding hearings would "continue reputational damage" to the school.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who has called for hearings, said "the taxpayers, students, faculty, administrators, parents, alumni and other constituents" deserve to know what happened.

Meanwhile, Rutgers is turning to former dean Carl Kirschner to run its athletic department on an interim basis while it conducts a search for someone to take the job permanently.

It's the second time that Kirschner will run the program. He took over at the start of 2009 after Robert Mulcahy was fired, and held the role for four months, stepping down when Pernetti took over.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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