Report: Rutgers, Jordan nearing deal
NEWARK, N.J. (AP)
While Eddie Jordan and Rutgers worked to make him the head of the university's scandal-marred basketball program, there was more bad news for the Scarlet Knights.
A person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the parties were hoping to get a contract agreement for the 58-year-old Jordan by the end of the week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been finalized despite two days of talks over the weekend.
Jordan, an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers and Rutgers' career assists leader, was in California on Tuesday, helping the NBA team prepare for its regular-season finale. If the Lakers win, they will make the playoffs.
Lonnie Cooper, Jordan's agent, did not return a telephone call left by The Associated Press seeking an update on the talks. Rutgers spokesman Jason Baum had no update on the talks to replace Mike Rice, who was fired two weeks ago after a video was released that showed him kicking and grabbing players while uttering anti-gay slurs at them in practice over the past 2 1/2 seasons.
There is a sense of urgency to get a new coach.
Three players from last season team that finished 15-16 have asked for transfer releases, and the New York Post and SNY reported that swingman Mike Poole also is looking to leave. Of the other three, the biggest loss would be guard Jerome Seagears, who started 19 games and averaged 6.5 points.
The other piece of bad news for Rutgers concerned former athletic director Tim Pernetti, who resigned two days after Rice was fired. He had been nominated by Sports Business Journal for its athletic director of the year, but the publication removed the nomination Monday. The award is to be handed out next month.
Pernetti was cited by the journal's editorial committee for his work in gaining membership for his alma mater in the Big Ten and for positioning Rutgers for future business growth.
''When we placed Pernetti on the list of nominees, we didn't have all the facts about the actions and decisions of the Rutgers athletic department during the period under consideration,'' the journal said in a statement. ''When disturbing video surfaced two weeks ago regarding the behavior of men's basketball coach Mike Rice, and the subsequent decision by Pernetti and Rutgers leadership to maintain Rice's employment, it caused us to reconsider. Our awards endeavor to recognize the best in sports business. Based on decisions Rutgers and Pernetti made last year, we cannot continue our recognition of the university and Pernetti's leadership of the athletic program. Therefore, our editorial committee has decided to withdraw Pernetti's nomination from this category.''
When Pernetti received the videotape in November, he discussed it with university and independent counsel. The former Rutgers tight end opted to suspend Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to take anger management counseling.
University president Robert Barchi agreed with the penalty without looking at the videotape, which was eventually aired by ESPN two weeks ago.
When Barchi watched the video he ordered Rice fired and asked for Pernetti's resignation. The video showed Rice firing basketballs at players, hitting them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders. It also shows him grabbing players by their jerseys and yanking them around the court. Rice can also be heard yelling obscenities and using anti-gay slurs.
Jordan has been a head coach in the NBA with Sacramento, Washington and Philadelphia, posting a 257-343 record.