In Defense of Rutgers’ Athletic Director Tim Pernetti
Look, the Confidential is no friend of Rutgers. Do not believe us? Check out this post. Yeah, pretty harsh. That being said, the Confidential MUST opine that society is on a slippery slope where the only thing that satisfies anyone is when a person committing an offense loses his or her job. So, regardless of whether Tim Pernetti advocated for the termination or suspension of Mike Rice, the news that Tim Pernetti was fired or resigned under pressure of same is simply absurd.
Let’s not forget that Tim Pernetti was not the one being abusive to players in practice. He was not the one that crossed the line. Sure, he hired that guy. But Tim Pernetti is not someone with an anger control problem, nor does he pose any danger to student-athletes. What Tim Pernetti was fired for was doing a poor job at managing an already ugly situation.
Now, Rutgers sent Rice to anger management classes. Why not send Tim Pernetti to basic management classes? Rutgers is a proud university; certainly somebody at that institution teaches a management class that Tim Pernetti could take for a grade. Maybe even an ethics class? The Confidential finds it hard to believe that Tim Pernetti–the athletic director–was beyond salvaging. Instead of faculty recommending that he audit a class taught at Rutgers, the faculty did the easy thing–advocated for his termination. Mission accomplished.
The sad part is that Tim Pernetti oversaw the transition of Rutgers from a middling athletic program in the Big East, to being Big 10 bound. This is the equivalent of winning the lottery. Only Tim Pernetti will not be around to spend it. Some other guy or gal will fill his role and get to go on a spending spree. That is really too bad.
What is worse is that this just keeps happening again and again. Our overly-litigious, overly-critical, overly media-frenzy driven society just cannot handle anyone making a mistake. Instead, mistakes are now unforgivable. Which is fine for the rapists, murderers, and abusers. But when it comes down to poor judgment in response to a situation, the Confidential thinks that it is time for everyone to take a step back before advocating for termination and only termination.
Rutgers was not Penn State. The “kids” abused by Rice were adults. They had the ability to speak out. They had the ability to group together to demand his ouster. Some had the ability to say enough is enough. So nobody should even go down that road.
If there is a more compelling analogy, it is Bobby Knight. Mike Rice was no Knight when it comes to wins, obviously. Heck, Mike Rice (111-61) has only a few dozen more wins than Pat Knight (73-72). But nobody fired Bobby Knight for a long, long time. The fact that Tim Pernetti did not fire Mike Rice is not a mortal sin or a crime. It is a mistake. We need to stop firing people over mistakes.
The interesting thing about all of this is that Penn State, Indiana, and Rutgers are all about to be part of the same conference. For a conference that purports to be so much more cultured than the SEC, it sure does have its disproportionate number of problems with coaches and abusive behavior. But, if anything, Rutgers overreacted with respect to Tim Pernetti.