Barchi says Rutgers will fight payout for ex-coach

TRENTON – Rutgers University’s president said he will take steps to ensure there is no repeat of the recent controversy that led to the departures of both the basketball coach and the athletic director, including opposing the payout for the former coach.

President Robert Barchi told Assembly Budget Committee members Thursday he will be putting in auditing and oversight mechanisms in the Athletic Department and have the university’s existing ethics policy front and center so it’s better enforced. 

The head basketball coach was dismissed over a video of him verbally and physically abusing players and using anti-gay slurs.

Barchi briefly touched upon the scandal and described it as “a failure of process at multiple levels.”

Gov. Chris Christie has come to the defense of Barchi, saying he did not believe Barchi’s handling of the matter merited dismissal.

Regarding the higher education merger, Barchi said some $15.5 million is expected to be spent by the end of this fiscal year for the merger costs, which he said is a one-time expense.

In the next fiscal year, some $25 million to $33 million will be needed to see the merger go forward, he said.

Barchi said that he believes ex-coach Mike Rice is not entitled to his payout because he believes he did serious damage to the university and used unethical conduct.

Barchi said he would be willing to argue in court if he has to that Rice is not entitled to the payout.

“This was a failure of process at multiple levels,” he said.

Barchi told the lawmakers that he had signed off on the separation agreements for ex-AD Tim Pernetti and the counsel, John Wolf, but not the one for the ex-coach.

Barchi said, “Let’s be very clear here.  There may not be a fraction of a settlement. We may go to court over this.”

A Rutgers spokesman said they may end up settling for a fraction of the original payout agreement.