Rutgers has finally parted ways with athletic director Tim Pernetti, the man who didn't act on acts of violence by a coach on his student-athletes, but the state school is still going to pay him around $1.2 million through the next year, pay for his car, and let him keep the laptop and iPad the school purchased, likely by way of taxpayer dollars. That must be nice for him. The details of the deal were reported by the New Jersey Star-Ledger and the Associated Press over the weekend. Pernetti's severance package leaves him with a one-time payment of $679,500 over the next month, plus his $453,000 base salary by the end of June 2014. Rutgers is also letting Pernetti keep his $12,000-per-year car stipend through 2014, and they're paying for two years worth of health insurance through 2015. The kicker? Pernetti's getting all of this whether or not he takes another job, even as Rutgers, a state school, commissioned an independent investigation Monday as local lawmakers call for "answers the people of our state deserve as to why he wasn't fired sooner."
The "he," of course, is Mike Rice, and it was Tim Pernetti who could have done the early firing. Alas, it was Pernetti who was forced to resign last week after the school was drowned with criticism following the video that surfaced of Rice, the men's basketball coach, physically and vocally abusing players at practices during his first three years on the job. Rice was finally fired last week, but it may have been far too late: Since then, there have been questions raised over which school officials knew what, and when, that has led to calls for school president Robert Barchi to resign, too. Barchi held an open town hall with students on campus Monday, mostly surround a host of still more questions about his job performance.
Of course, Pernetti's deal depends on a mutual kind of public respect. The deal requires Rutgers to say only nice things about Pernetti, both in the press and in any future job interviews, in case he uses the school as a reference. Pernetti can't cay anything terrible about the school publicly, either. Omerta is a lot easier when you're getting paid.