Rutgers Donors Feel Disrespected [VIDEO]
The burgeoning basketball scandal has cost Rutgers more than a popular, young athletic director, an interim general counsel, two coaches and a lot of embarrassment.
The state university of New Jersey is in danger of losing some of its biggest donors in tough economic times.
The school's woes only mounted on a day that started with AD Tim Pernetti resigning over his failure to fire coach Mike Rice in December after reviewing video of the coach hitting, kicking and taunting players with anti-gay slurs at practice.
First-year Rutgers President Robert Barchi came under intense questioning at a news conference Friday over what he knew about the video months ago, but he got a nod of support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the school's board of governors.
The day ended with some of Rutgers' biggest backers threatening to stop writing checks because they were upset Pernetti, a rising star who had guided the Scarlet Knights' move to the Big Ten Conference, was forced out for not firing Rice when he first became aware of the video.
"I am still confused by what transpired today"
Tom Mendiburu, whose High Point Solutions paid $6 million for the naming rights to the university's football stadium, tweeted that he was concerned, saying he made the deal because of Pernetti.
"We've invested so much into #RU and now I'm not even sure who we turn to. Very sad day and I'm sorry Pernetti had to go through this," he tweeted.
Mendiburu said a lot of people are asking him what he is going to do — and he wasn't sure.
Medniburu told Townsquare Media on Friday before the announcement of Pernetti's resignation fthat his friendship with Pernetti had grown in the past few years and he was having difficuolty understand just what he had done wrong.
The Star-Ledger reported that Daniel Wheeler, a founding member of the Society of Queens College, was upset that Rutgers ignored prominent donors' pleas to keep Pernetti. Membership in the society, which bears the name under which Rutgers was chartered in 1766, requires a minimum of $1 million donated to the school.
"I won't say numbers, but I've given over seven figures, and like a lot of people who have done the same, I support Tim Pernetti," Wheeler told the newspaper.
David H. Bugen, who runs an investment firm in Chatham, tells the New York Times "I am not proud. It is unfortunate how a person can be made a scapegoat" and is scrapping a proposed gift to the university he says would have been his largest ever.
The Associated Press contributed to this story