In December 2012, Pernetti highlighted that corrective action was being taken in an attempt to separate Rice's actions from the wider athletic culture at Rutgers which encourages coaches to "act and lead in a responsible manner." In suspending Rice, Pernetti is attempting to bolster the image of Rutgers athletics and connect the suspension to a positive aspect of the culture at RU -- a place where individuals are given a second chance and where abusive behavior is not accepted. Pernetti also attempted to transcend the situation in stating, "This was not an easy decision for me to make but absolutely necessary to ensure what is best for our program." In making a decision with the interests of the entire program in mind, Pernetti aimed to transcend the situation by getting individuals to view his decision to suspend as a positive. Without much media attention, Pernetti's announcement framed the University positively and the controversy seemingly went away.
Pernetti's decision in December, though, came under fire when "Outside the Lines" aired a report on Rice's behavior. With the airing, Pernetti's previous work to repair the image of the basketball program and athletics department is undermined and questioned by the national media. Thus Rutgers University, particularly Tim Pernetti and President Robert Barchi, had a growing crisis on their hands. The discipline of Rice was questioned, which ultimately led to his dismissal on Wednesday. With that decision, Pernetti released a statement where he expresses mortification regarding his decision: “I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.” In admitting fault, Pernetti attempts to begin the image repair process by recognizing a failure in leadership on his part. In taking responsibility, Pernetti ultimately opened himself up further to criticism, including questions of why Rice was not dismissed in December and why his discipline appeared as a slap on the wrist. The above quoted material was Pernetti's full statement; it was not much of an apology, thus leaving unanswered questions and fueling discussions about the December decision. While we all might want to have those responsible apologize, Pernetti's statement reveals that mortification alone is not enough to repair the image of a basketball program or an individual's leadership. Because the controversy continued, Pernetti became the next person to face criticism.
As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice’s behavior was to fire him immediately. However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel. Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved.In blaming other aspects of the University bureaucracy, Pernetti attempts to transcend the controversy. He tried to do the right thing, but the larger culture of bureaucracy prevented him from doing so. Of course, this makes his previous apology where he took accountability for the rehabilitation decision to seem like a farce, thus calling his credibility in to question. This shift to transcendence, though, aims to repair Pernetti's image, not the University's. With Pernetti's salvo, the controversy continues and the image of the University is further questioned because the actions of Rice were protected by more than one mere athletic director.
After transcending the situation, Pernetti bolsters about his time at RU:
I trust that my tenure at Rutgers will not be judged by this one incident. I am proud of my efforts to lead Rutgers into the Big Ten, and of all of the accomplishments of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the field of play. I want to thank our great fans, the hardest working staff in collegiate athletics, and every one of our fine student-athletes. It has been my great pleasure to serve my alma mater.Even though the letter is addressed to the RU President, this makes it clear that it is intended for a wider audience. In reminding everyone of his accomplishments, Pernetti stakes a claim (or at least attempts to stake claim) to the future accomplishments of Rutgers. Prior to his resignation, many speculated that Pernetti would be spared because of his negotiations to gain admittance of RU into the Big Ten, so it is no surprise that Pernetti relied on this fact when bolstering about his tenure as AD.
The crisis continues to roil at RU as many faculty members are calling for the dismissal of the University President (Barchi). With such increased attention to the pitfalls and culture of big time athletics, the RU situation indicates a growing distrust of the business. Apologies and dismissals that previously may have repaired the image of a university and got their dirty laundry off the front pages of newspapers are now faced with scrutiny about the strings attached to money of athletics. Interestingly, Pernetti's resignation merely continues the controversy by scapegoating the University rather than being the sacrifical lamb. This points to the risks that associated with individual's attempt to transcend a situation for themselves and the difficulty of an organization to repair its image with a few firings.