Christie on Rutgers' Rice: 'Fire him and let him sue.'
[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ew Jersey governor Chris Christie used his Monday press conference to speak out about the controversy over how Rutgers handled accusations that men’s basketball coach Mike Rice abused his players.
Christie defended University president Dr. Robert L. Barchi, who took office last September.
Barchi has said that he did not watch the video showing Rice abusing players when he was alerted to allegations late last year. However, Barchi did fire Rice and athletic director Tim Pernetti after the tape went public. More than 50 faculty members are demanding Barchi’s resignation.
“Dr. Barchi made a mistake when he did not ask to see the videotape,” Christie said Monday. “He admitted that mistake. That is not a fireable offense.”
Earlier today, the school announced that Carl Kirschner would serve as interim athletic director, and that a search committee to find the permanent replacement has been formed.
Kirschner is special counsel for academic programs in the office of the executive vice president for academic affairs. He was dean of Rutgers College for 13 years, and previously served as chair of the athletic department’s academic oversight committee.
According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Pernetti will be paid a settlement of more than $1.2 million in return for his resignation. Under the terms of his contract, Rice is entitled to receive more than $1 million.
Christie, whose son Andrew is a baseball player at Princeton, said that he would’ve handled the situation much differently had he been shown the video.
“Who could actually look at that tape and say you would want to entrust your child to Mike Rice? To me, once you answer that question, there’s no other question to ask,” Christie said. “I don’t care about the legality and the niceties, and I don’t even know why they got outside counsel to look at this.
“Fire him, and let him sue and let the courts decide. But get him away from the student athletes.
“That would’ve been my call on it if I had seen the videotape back in November.”