Pernetti Wanted Rice Fired; Rutgers Needs to Make Changes in Policy

Elsa

Today, Rutgers released the final reports on the Mike Rice incident.

Tim Pernetti's initial reaction was to fire Mike Rice.

According to the final Skadden Report:

Following the meeting, Pernetti, Purcaro, Fillis and Cino met with Wolf. They decided that an investigation of Coach Rice’s conduct would be conducted. After that meeting Pernetti, Fillis and Purcaro met to discuss their initial reactions to the video. All three expressed the initial reaction that Coach Rice should be fired, but agreed further investigation was warranted.

As the investigation went on, and Pernetti and company met with outside counsel, they decided a firing for cause was unlikely.

Between November 26, 2012, and December 10, 2012, Pernetti and Purcaro had a series of discussions with Wolf, and, at times, outside counsel. From these consultations, Pernetti and Purcaro came to view the best available options as (i) negotiating a forced resignation, with Coach Rice seeking payment on the remaining portion of his contract; or (ii) disciplining Coach Rice but retaining him as coach. Based on discussions with counsel, Pernetti and Purcaro came to view a firing “for cause” as untenable and fraught with legal risk. For their
part, however, Wolf and outside counsel never advised that Coach Rice could not be fired for
cause.

The full Skadden report is very interesting, and worth a read. It recommends, among other things, the Athletic Department needs to work more closely with the rest of the University. The Athletic Department had too much autonomy and that lead to a lot of the Mike Rice problems.

The Skadden Report also suggests forms a Enterprise Risk Management Committee. This committee would be in line with the rest of the Big Ten.

Hopefully this report will finally put to rest of the ugliest situations Rutgers has had to deal with in its long history.

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