- Associated Press - Thursday, April 4, 2013

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - The president of New Jersey’s state Senate has joined the chorus of alumni and politicians calling for Rutgers University’s athletic director to be ousted for not firing the men’s basketball coach sooner.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti fired coach Mike Rice this week after a video showing the coach kicking and shoving players and berating them with a gay slur became public.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in a statement Thursday that the case will “hang over Rutgers like a dark cloud for weeks, months and perhaps years to come.”

He says he’s especially troubled that Rice is in line to get a $100,000 bonus for coaching through the recently finished season.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The call from faculty members to oust top Rutgers University administrators grew louder Thursday, a day after men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for mistreating players, including by shoving them and berating them with gay slurs.

More than 50 faculty members signed a letter calling for the dismissal of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and an explanation from President Robert Barchi for why he didn’t fire Rice last year when he learned of a video showing Rice’s behavior during practices.

Meanwhile, the number calling for Barchi to step down more than doubled to 28.

The letter calling for Barchi’s resignation was first sent to the university’s governing boards on Wednesday. In it, the faculty cite Barchi’s “inexcusable handling of coach Mike Rice’s homophobic and misogynist abuse” of players, his “continued pattern of insensitivity and arrogance toward issues of diversity” and the “secrecy and lack of transparency that he has exhibited in his relations” with faculty, staff and students.

It’s unclear what effect the calls might have on the president or the athletic director. Neither was willing to be interviewed by The Associated Press on Wednesday or Thursday. Members of the university’s two governing boards have been mum.

Barchi, a neuroscience researcher before he became a university administrator, was hired a year ago and took office Sept. 1 to lead the university with 58,000 students on three campuses. He had been president of Thomas Jefferson University, a Philadelphia health sciences university, and before that was an administrator at the University of Pennsylvania.

He was brought to Rutgers as the university takes over two medical schools that now are part of the separate University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The ongoing reconfiguration of the state’s higher education system is intended to expand Rutgers‘ life-science research prowess, and Barchi was chosen largely to oversee that.

He had never been an administrator, though, at a school with athletic scholarships.

Over the past decade, Rutgers‘ athletic program has grown increasingly ambitious and expensive, largely as the university’s football team transformed from an also-ran to a power in the Big East conference. The school’s teams are set next year to join the more prestigious Big Ten, a move engineered largely by Pernetti, a former TV sports executive.

Shortly after he took office, Barchi told reporters that high-profile sports teams are an important way to increase the university’s visibility, but that he wanted to gradually reduce the university’s operating subsidy for sports _ currently about $8 million per year _ while continuing to pay for scholarships for athletes at a cost of about $10 million annually.

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