Rutgers scandal grows as assistant resigns, faculty complains
The Rutgers basketball scandal, one day removed from Mike Rice getting fired as coach for his abusive behavior, continued to grow Thursday with assistant coach Jimmy Martelli resigning and the university faculty and New Jersey politicians calling for the removal of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and President Robert Barchi.
Rice was fired Wednesday as public outcry gained momentum after video was released by ESPN on Tuesday showing the coach hitting, shoving, throwing basketballs at and berating his players with gay slurs.
More than 50 faculty members have signed a letter asking for Pernetti to be removed and more than two dozen have called for Barchi to be fired. The faculty members said in a letter that they’ve sent to the university’s governing board that Barchi knew enough last year to remove Rice as coach.
“Although President Barchi is now suggesting otherwise, he has known about Coach Rice’s homophobic, misogynist and abusive behavior for several months now,” the faculty wrote in the letter. “Not only did he not fire Coach Rice, he in essence covered up the coach’s actions by failing to tell faculty and students about them.”
After an internal review that included the video shot by assistant Eric Murdock, who has since lost his job and has said he plans to sue Rutgers for wrongful termination, Barchi suspended Rice for three games, fined him and had him take anger management classes.
The president of the state Senate joined the fray Thursday, asking for Pernetti to resign or be fired.
“This incident will continue to hang over Rutgers like a dark cloud for weeks, months and perhaps years to come,” said Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford Township). “It seems pretty clear that things were not handled well from the start.”
Martelli, whose resignation was first reported by the Star-Ledger, released a statement through a law firm.
“I am sickened that as an assistant coach, I contributed in any way to an unacceptable culture. Wednesday, I resigned from Rutgers and I hope that coaches on all levels will learn something important from these events,” Martelli said. “For my actions, I am deeply sorry and I apologize to the players from the bottom of my heart.”
Wire service and Internet reports contributed to this story.
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