By now, we’ve all seen that video -- the one of Rutgers University men's basketball coach Mike Rice shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at his players and using gay slurs during practice.
Well, here’s another one -- not of Rice but of his boss Tim Pernetti, the school’s athletic director.
Pernetti, a Rutgers graduate, has held the athletic director job since April 2009. He is now on his way out, ESPN reported, after more than 50 Rutgers faculty members -- and, for that matter, the New Jersey State Senate -- objected to the school’s initial decision to retain him. (A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m.; as of now, it’s unclear if he was fired or resigned.)
The Rutgers athletic department first learned of the allegations against Rice -- made by a former assistant threatening a whistleblower lawsuit -- way back in November. They even saw the now infamous video of Rice.
As it happens, that very month, Pernetti appeared on a panel called “College Athletics: Is Anyone in Charge?” at New York University Law School. In the context of what we now know about what was going on at Rutgers at the time, his comments are priceless.
Listen to Pernetti talk about his university’s “responsibility to the well-being of young people” and the importance of “recruiting good people,” not just good players. “I got up in front of the board when I first got the job,” Pernetti tells the audience. “They said, ‘Under you nothing bad is going to happen is it?’ I can’t make that promise. But look at what you can control and human capital is what you can control. . . . You do control the people.”
Pernetti concludes with this: “You can’t buy 50 million dollars' worth of visibility for a university on the street. But if you run the program the right way with the right people and have success you can have it for nothing.”
I think it’s fair to say that Pernetti just earned his program well in excess of $50 million in visibility.