TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie said that while the incident involving the video tape of former Rutgers coach Mike Rice intimidating players “is a stain on Rutgers’ past,’’ he also sought to make it clear that as far as the administration is concerned, this matter is over.
“We had to deal with this issue,’’ he said at a press conference Monday. “We’ve dealt with it. Those most responsible for this mistake have been taken care of.”
Among other things, Christie said that there will be no Executive branch investigation, everyone should await results of Rutgers’ independent investigation, he fully supports Rutgers President Robert Barchi, and Barchi won’t let this scandal distract him from overseeing the ongoing higher education reorganization with the University of Medicine and Dentistry.
Even though some faculty have called for Barchi’s ouster, Christie said there are other faculty who support him.
He acknowledged that if Barchi left now, it would hurt the higher education reorganization, which is supposed to be completed by June 30.
“Not only would it be a setback to the merger, and to the strategic plan … the university would be hurt drastically by the departure of Dr. Barchi,” Christie said. “That’s why I don’t support it. I don’t think his conduct necessitates his departure.”
He also sought to brush aside the timetable issue regarding when Barchi viewed the videotape. Christie said that Barchi had problems getting the tape to work on Tuesday and didn’t view it until later that day.
And “Barchi made a mistake when he didn’t ask to see the videotape” initially, Christie said, but he didn’t consider any of his conduct rising to the level of meriting dismissal.
Christie also said he did not see how anyone could view this tape and minimize the ex-coach’s conduct, and he questioned how any parent would entrust their child to Rice.
“Fire him and let him sue you, and let the courts decide,’’ Christie said, “but get him away from student athletes.”
Christie cited other successful coaches around the country who “don’t conduct themselves like animals. What parent would let this animal back into their room to recruit their son?”