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Shortly after he took office, Barchi told reporters that high-profile sports teams are an important way to increase the university’s visibility, but that he wanted to gradually reduce the university’s operating subsidy for sports — currently about $8 million per year — while continuing to pay for scholarships for athletes at a cost of about $10 million annually.
Barchi said in a statement Wednesday that Pernetti told him last year about the video of Rice made by a former basketball program employee, but he said he did not watch the video until Tuesday, the day it was made public.
In December, after the university consulted lawyers and commissioned an independent report on Rice’s actions, Barchi said he agreed to suspend the coach for three games, fine him and order him to anger management counseling.
He said that when he saw the video, he realized that Rice needed to be removed entirely.
The faculty calling for Barchi to step down said in their letter that he knew enough to remove the coach months ago.
"Although President Barchi is now suggesting otherwise, he has known about Coach Rice’s homophobic, misogynist and abusive behavior for several months now," the letter said.
Ron Becker, head of special collections and university archives at Rutgers, said he believes the handling of the situation needs to be reviewed.
"The value of sports and the Division I atmosphere often trumps some of the basic needs of the university," he said. "The pressure to win and succeed at athletics seems to trump (academics) around here."
Democratic state lawmakers, particularly Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, have been calling for legislative hearings on why Rice was not fired sooner, but as of Thursday, none had been scheduled.
Keeping the coach on through the season cost the university a portion of Rice’s salary — he was paid $622,500 in 2012 — and also a $100,000 bonus for coaching the final game of the year. "That fact makes his suspension and fine look even more ridiculous," Sweeney said.
Athletic department spokesman Jason Baum said Thursday that the university is contractually obligated to pay the bonus, which is due this month.
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