Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany released a statement Friday about the messy situation at future league member Rutgers, which has fired men's basketball coach Mike Rice and accepted the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti in the wake of video that aired Tuesday by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" showing Rice physically and verbally abusing Scarlet Knights players during a practice.
Delany's statement reads:
The conduct displayed by Mike Rice in the videotapes recently released by ESPN was egregious and unacceptable. Rutgers University has acknowledged that its initial response was insufficient and that more needed to be done. Its review of this matter is ongoing. The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors has been studying issues surrounding institutional control for several months and continues its work in this area. In the context of that review, one thing that has become clear is that the hiring, retention and firing of institutional personnel, including coaches, lies solely in the hands of the individual institutions and their boards. While we remain interested in the outcome of Rutgers' review, and will continue to monitor the situation as appropriate, it will have no impact on Rutgers' transition to, or membership in, the Big Ten Conference.
In an interview with ESPN.com, Delany called Rice's conduct "way, way out of bounds." He said Rutgers is in "an embarrassing and difficult time" but working through it just as any institution would when personnel issues arise.
The Big Ten had no discussions about reconsidering Rutgers as a future member.
"They wouldn't be the first Big Ten institution ever to deal with a coach who stepped over some lines," Delany told ESPN.com. "These are strictly local issues, and institutions are expected to handle them, and Rutgers is handling them. Maybe not in the way they should have initially. They would acknowledge that they probably came up short, but as long as people cure the problems that they have when they come up with them, I don't know that you can do much more."
Delany first learned of the Rice tape when it went public. He knew about the discipline handed down to Rice in December.
"I just assumed $50,000 and a three-game suspension must have been serious, but beyond that, I don't have any detail," Delany said.
Delany has been in touch with Pernetti, a longtime friend who played a significant role in Rutgers' move to the Big Ten.
"It's sad that Tim was separated from Rutgers," Delany said. "...But we're in a time and a place where there's going to be accountability for coaches and there's going to be accountability for administrators, and the institution is going to manage it. The NCAA doesn't manage it. The conference doesn't manage it.
"I assume they're going to look at it, try to figure out whatever processes went wrong, that they cure those processes and that they move forward in a healthy way."