Tim Pernetti out as Rutgers AD - FOX 35 News Orlando

Tim Pernetti out as Rutgers AD

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Tim Pernetti (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File) Tim Pernetti (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

Rutgers student-athletes including former football player Eric LeGrand have come out in support of athletic director Tim Pernetti who resigned in wake of the scandal involving basketball coach Mike Rice.

Pernetti resigned on Friday, writing that he wanted to fire basketball coach Mike Rice in December but was blocked by university lawyers and the Human Resources department.

ESPN aired a videotape this week showing Rice shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.

It drew outrage and questions about why Rice was still on the job.

Pernetti wrote a letter to Rutgers president Robert Barchi Friday saying, in part:

"My continued tenure as Athletic Director is no longer sustainable for the University which I attended and where a piece of me will always remain. In connection with the incidents involving former basketball Coach Mike Rice, as was the case with all other matters which I handled on behalf of the University, I always tried my best to do what is right. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today. As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice's behavior was to fire him immediately. However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel. Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved."

READ ENTIRE LETTER

Pernetti was given the video of the incidents in late November by a former employee.

Rice was initially suspended for three games, fined $75,000 and ordered to attend anger management classes.

Pernetti ended up dismissing Rice on Wednesday with the approval of university president Robert Barchi.

Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement that the Athletic Department needs new leadership.

"The decision today by Athletic Director Tim Pernetti to resign is appropriate and necessary given the events of the past six months," Christie said. "This entire incident was regrettable 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."

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed during a game in October 2010 and has kept in touch with Pernetti since his tragic injury, supports the fired AD.

"I know him on a personal level. It's tough to see. He's been so close to my family. He bleeds Scarlet Knights. He truly cares about the school and the people. He'd do anything for all of us (student-athletes," said LeGrand during Fox 5's Good Day NY program.

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