The university’s student government association also released a statement saying that Rice deserved to be fired. It said it intended to work with Barchi and Pernetti ‘‘to ensure that incidents like this never happen again.’’
While practically everyone who has spoken publicly about the case says it was right to fire Rice, two players in interviews with The Associated Press on Thursday defended the coach, saying the snippets of video were taken out of context.
‘‘I feel if people had a chance to see the other portions of practice, or had been at practice, their judgment would not be as severe,’’ sophomore forward Austin Johnson said. ‘‘I am not saying what he did wasn’t wrong, because I do believe it was wrong. But it is also tough because it was a highlight reel of his worst moments.’’
Junior Wally Judge said Rice, who apologized Wednesday, has treated him well and helped him grow as a person and a basketball player.
There also was a defense of Pernetti. According to Newark’s The Star-Ledger, an athletic department fundraiser emailed Rutgers boosters asking them to contact Barchi and the head of the university’s board of governors to voice support of him. University spokesman Greg Trevor would not comment on whether the email was sanctioned by the author’s superiors.
A Rutgers assistant coach has resigned amid the scandal. According to The Star-Ledger, the assistant, Jimmy Martelli, could be seen on the video shoving a player.
Martelli said in a statement he was ‘‘sickened that as an assistant coach I contributed in any way to an unacceptable culture,’’ and he apologized to the players ‘‘from the bottom of my heart.’’
The Associated Press also obtained a letter Thursday from a lawyer for Eric Murdock, the former basketball program employee who gave the video to university officials and later ESPN. The letter to a lawyer for Rutgers, dated Dec. 27, said Murdock was fired for telling school officials about Rice’s behavior and would accept $950,000 not to file a lawsuit against the school. The letter also complained that the university did not seem to investigate when Murdock first complained about Rice in July, when an interim president was in office.
Democratic state lawmakers, particularly Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, have been calling for legislative hearings on why Rice was not fired sooner, but none had been scheduled.
Keeping the coach on through the season cost the university a portion of his salary — he was paid $622,500 in 2012 — and a $100,000 bonus for coaching the final game of the year. Athletic department spokesman Jason Baum said the university is contractually obligated to pay the bonus, due this month.
Delli Santi reported from Trenton. Also contributing to this report were AP reporters Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield and Katie Zezima in Newark and AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan.