Clouds of crisis, controversy surround Rutgers

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And the hits keep on coming:

_Some students and faculty want Barchi to leave.

_Murdock filed a whistleblower suit.

_Two major supporters, including the company that purchased the naming rights to the football stadium, are considering cutting off money because of their loyalty to Pernetti.

“This entire incident was regrettable,” Christie said. “And while it has damaged the reputation of our state university, we need to move forward now on a number of fronts which provide great opportunities for Rutgers‘ future.”

Pernetti maintains his November decision was made because the consensus among school officials and outside counsel was that Rice’s actions didn’t warrant dismissal. Pernetti, in fact, wrote in his resignation letter that his inclination was to fire Rice “immediately.”

Barchi, who began in September, compounded the situation by never asking to see the video, which he knew existed. It was a compilation of practice lowlights.

“We all bear the responsibility of our decisions, and the consequences have to be shared by all who make them,” ” Barchi said.

In hindsight, he said he made a mistake.

Barchi, who was hired to oversee the merger of the medical school with the university, said the leader of an institution has to trust his subordinates to provide him with recommendations, and he did in this case.

Pernetti was influenced by the report of independent counsel John Lacey, a lawyer hired by Rutgers last year to investigate Murdock’s complaints against Rice. He found that while Rice sometimes behaved inappropriately, many of the clips were taken out of out of context and did not create a hostile work environment or constitute harassment or bullying.

One of Rice’s players concurred.

Mike was almost like a big brother. He would get on the floor with us and go through drills with us. He made it fun,” junior forward Wally Judge said. “When you have a big brother-type of figure, you know you can play around like that. I have grabbed Mike and put him in a headlock and we joke around and kid. That was the type of relationship he built with his players.”

The report was in line with Judge’s opinion. While it said that Rice yelled at players, shoved and grabbed them, it also said he did that to make them comfortable in the chaos of a basketball game. The report said players who were interviewed believed Rice cared about them. It also praised Rice for assigning players “life coaches” to help work on nonbasketball issues.

Rutgers, which hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1991, is used to tough times. Including Rice, the last four basketball coaches were fired for problems not related to their records.

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