Rutgers Now 0 For 3 with Law Firm, Search Firm & PR Firm

Rutgers University in New Jersey hired an outside law firm which, in its report, seemed to excuse the behavior of former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice. Here’s some telling language from that report:

“While it’s clear that Coach Rice was extremely demanding of the players, the assistant coaches and himself since his initial hiring as Rutgers men’s head basketball coach in May 2010, Coach Rice’s conduct does not constitute a “hostile work environment” as that term is understood under Rutgers’ anti-discrimination policies.

“On the contrary, Coach Rice formulated and implemented numerous policies and practices that were designed to, and did, operate not only to improve Rutgers’ men’s basketball program, but also to further the athletic and academic performance of all the student-athletes on Rutgers men’s basketball team.”

Rutgers also hired a search firm for a new athletic director (after the resignation of Tim Pernetti) and questions are now being raised if that firm failed to properly investigate Julie Hermann’s history at other colleges. It also hired a PR firm to clean up its reputation – yet Rutgers is in worse shape today than a few months ago. It’s good to get outside help for legal, HR and PR. Sadly, though, Rutgers is 0 for 3 in all those departments.


Robert Barchi

But aside from the work product of these outside firms, Rutgers bears ultimate responsibility for everything that has happened. It doesn’t seem right that Robert Barchi still has his job as college president, since it was his actions (and inactions)  that have landed the school in hot water.

Mike Lupica of The Daily News makes some great points here, in particular that Rutgers shows more concern with saving face than doing the right thing.


Here’s a clip of my thoughts on what should happen from this week’s episode of The Crisis Show.

Past White House Press Secretaries In Action

It’s clear that Jay Carney, press secretary to President Obama, got hammered at the podium on Tuesday, May 14 in response to tough questions about the Administration’s handling of three crises. The first crisis involved reports that the Internal Revenue Service targeted certain political groups. The second crisis involved the U.S. Justice Department’s seizing of multiple phone records at various offices of The Associated Press allegedly to plug a serious national security leak. Finally, there’s ongoing criticism tied to recent Congressional hearings about the terrorist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

So, as part of our efforts to educate about the role of White House press secretaries — and the larger issue of managing communications in a crisis — here are some clips from other presidential press secretaries about how they viewed their jobs as well as clips of some in action.