(NBC)–Rutgers University is reviewing practice videos of all sports to see if any coach engaged in behavior like the type that cost men’s basketball coach Mike Rice his job, the university’s president announced Monday.
University President Robert Barchi, speaking during a town hall meeting on the school’s Newark campus, said he wants any instances of bullying or homophobic language to be immediately reported.
Barchi reiterated that he wished he had viewed the video where Rice shoved players and called them gay slurs when it first surfaced in November, saying he would have fired Rice then. In his remarks, he did not mention the coach, and focused solely on a reconfiguration of higher education in New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie on Monday defended Barchi’s handling of the scandal, as the university announced it plans to commission a probe of what happened.
While he’s issued statements, a news conference Monday was the first time Christie answered questions about the situation.
He said that ousting Barchi now would be a mistake for Rutgers, and he praised the president, who took office in September, for working quickly last week to fire Rice and get Athletic Director Tim Pernetti to resign within days after he — and the public — first viewed the video.
Christie said Rice should have been ousted last year.
“They were wrong not to come to the conclusion that Coach Rice needed to be fired immediately,” Christie said. The Republican governor added that had he been aware of the issues earlier he would have used his “power of persuasion” to try to get Rice fired then.
Christie said presidents must delegate some matters and that the mistake was not a firing offence.
Also Monday, Rutgers announced that it is commissioning a review of the way the university handled the situation.
The scandal has prompted the FBI to investigate whether a former Rutgers basketball employee asked for money from Rutgers in exchange for not taking the videos public, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press.
And new details have emerged about athletic director Tim Pernetti’s settlement with the university.
He is getting $1.2 million in salary and will get to keep his Rutgers-issued iPad, $12,000 car allowance and more than two years of health insurance coverage.
The AP obtained details of the settlement Monday through an open records request with Rutgers. The Star-Ledger had previously reported some details.
Rutgers said its Board of Governors will meet Thursday to discuss hiring the adviser to review the case.