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The Rutgers Basketball Scandal – Was it Handled Properly [POLL]

Andy Marlin/Getty Images
Andy Marlin/Getty Images

Yesterday I told you about the “gift that keeps on giving” regarding former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, and how, in addition to his Rutgers job, had been coaching a girls’ AAU basketball team, among which is his own daughter; and how he was seen by one blogger as acting in “over the top” despite having the support of most of the parents.

Today, a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll suggests that Rutgers got good grades in handling the scandal involving Rice’s verbal and physical abuse of his players.

In other words, the firing of Mike Rice was warranted, (something most of us can agree upon after having seen the video of his antics.)

However while most polled favored the resignation of former Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, and agreed that University President Robert Barchi should keep his job; the margins were slim.

You may have heard of one alum who’s launching a petition to reinstate Pernetti; in effect saying the school made a miscalculation in allowing him to resign.

So obviously not everyone is happy with the outcome.

According to this:

The poll found 93 percent of those surveyed thought Rice’s behavior was unacceptable and 82 percent said Rutgers was right to fire him. Nearly 56 percent said Pernetti needed to resign, while 35 percent said he should have kept his job.

Barchi had more support. About 51 percent of those surveyed said the president should not lose his job over the basketball controversy, while 36 percent said he should resign for mishandling the situation.

“It seems that all of the moves taken by Rutgers in the aftermath of the video’s release meet with general approval. There is a sizable minority, though, who feel that Pernetti should have stayed and Barchi should have resigned,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Rutgers officials declined to comment on the fallout over the scandal.

Who could blame them, given what I believe to be a lopsided outcome.

I’ve often believed that the buck has to stop somewhere.

Question is: do you believe it stopped in the right place?

In following the University’s protocol and following their recommendations as to how to handle the Rice situation, Pernetti was sealing his own fate. In a perfect world, everyone who had a hand in what went down should go, including the president for his sin of omission in not having reviewed the video when it was first made available.

But you know that’s not going to happen.

Another basketball coach could be found (enter Eddie Jordan).

Same with an Athletic Director.

But university presidents of the caliber of a Robert Barchi aren’t that easy at all to find.

Especially given his credentials in running a top notch school of medicine, and his overseeing of the merger of Rutgers and UMDNJ.

Basketball not being his strong suit, (I was told by a friend that Barchi wouldn’t be able to pick Rice out of a lineup); Barchi would be the least likely in this scenario to go.

Much as I hate to point the finger at the “sacrificial lamb” Pernetti, and given that he walks away with a sizeable settlement; I’d say the situation was handled properly, albeit awkwardly.

But there’s still work to be done and an outside investigation is still warranted.

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