In November, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti viewed a video of coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing his players. That very same month, he spoke on an NYU panel on the role of sports in society. His main responsibility as an AD, Pernetti told the assembled crowd, "is the well-being of young people."
The next month, Pernetti's commitment to his players as human beings took the form of suspending Rice for three games. That's why he's been fired.
It's not clear whether the NYU Sports and Society Program's Nov. 14 panel, titled “College Athletics: Is Anyone in Charge?”, took place before or after Pernetti saw the video. It doesn't really matter. His ultra-principled remarks would carry the same air of irony, and not a little bit of schadenfreude.
"What's going on here is a serious moral debate about responsibility...If you asked 10 athletic directors 'what's your job?', two will say fundraising, two will say building new facilities, three will say branding. All that stuff's a component, but the responsibility is the well-being of young people."
"Look at what you can control. Human capital is what you can control. And if there was information about [the Penn State scandal]? The cord could have been cut on that thing a long time ago, because you do control the people."
"If you hire the right people, and you have an area of responsibility that's focused on the right things...the job is preparing young people to be ready for whatever it is they're going to do."
"You can't buy $50 million dollars worth of visibility for a university on the street. But if you run the program the right way, with the right people, and have success, you can get it for nothing."