Let's face facts. No one in the sports world knew who Robert Barchi was until a few days ago, when it was revealed that Barchi, the president of Rutgers University, never saw the now-famous tapes of RU basketball practices under the now-deposed head coach Mike Rice.
But after Friday's bizarre press conference that was televised live on the high-and-almighty ESPN, the sports world certainly now knows who Barchi is. One thing is for sure: He's no Jerry Seinfeld, but Barchi certainly tried to be at least light-hearted, if not mistakenly funny, during the whole mess.
While Barchi was trying his best to tap dance around the tough questions, he failed to reveal one important fact.
Why in the world did Barchi wait until Tuesday, a day after everyone saw the shocking videos on ESPN, to view the tapes himself?
Barchi, who took the job as Rutgers president just last November, should have gone out of his way to make sure he knew what was on those tapes when now-former AD Tim Pernetti brought it to his attention that something had to be done to punish Rice back in December.
As soon as Pernetti told Barchi that such horrific videos existed, then the president should have taken the time to view the tapes with Pernetti in attendance. Then they should have both agreed on the right course of action, which of course, should have been Rice's dismissal back then.
But Barchi enabled Pernetti to make the decision to simply suspend and fine Rice on his own. It's your athletic mess, Tim, you take care of it.
Now we all know that it wasn't the most prudent thing to do. Because now Rutgers has a major crisis on its hand and the school continues to suffer daily embarrassments by leading every single sports show imaginable, including ESPN, which is treating the whole thing like they're proud they broke the story.
ESPN has been treating this mess as "Hey, look what we did!"
"As first reported on our Outside the Lines..."
That's just a little sickening for my taste. ESPN is pounding its chest while Rice and Pernetti lost their jobs.
They shouldn't have been the only ones. When he decided not to take the time to watch the tapes in December when Pernetti brought the tapes to his attention, Barchi lost the right to lead the university.
Barchi basically threw Pernetti under the bus Tuesday by saying that he hadn't watched the tapes, watched Pernetti squirm as he had to fire Rice, then drove the bus back over Pernetti by forcing him to resign.
Plain and simple, the new sports icon Barchi should have marched out the door at the same time. He failed to administer any sense of decency by allowing Rice to stay.
Now, he stands before a press conference and tries to crack jokes? What's so funny about this?
No one knew who Barchi was before Monday. It should be that no one knows who he is again by this Monday. He got his 15 minutes _ literally. Now it's time for him to disappear as well.
And as long as he stays around, Rutgers will continue to look like a complete laughingstock _ and do you think that's what the Big 10 wants, as Rutgers comes waltzing through the front door with its collective hand outstretched, looking to claim its first $22 million payday from the Big 10 Network.
No, I think if Big 10 guru Jim Delany had his way, he would reneg on that deal now, because Rutgers' failings in this mess only now makes the Big 10 look silly they accepted Rutgers in the first place.
Barchi can't dance around the fact that he failed to lead Rutgers through this mess. He ignored the warning sign from Pernetti by failing to watch the horror show, then made like a spoiled kid in kindergarten by basically throwing Pernetti to the wolves and stating, "Hey, I didn't do it. He did."
And then, as the so-called leader of the state university, he dances around questions at a press conference and tries to make light of the situation.
It's all part of this embarrassment that won't go away anytime soon _ or at the very least until ESPN stops leading SportsCenter with the daily saga.
And here's my last bit on this Rutgers crap: How in the hell is Eric Murdock being treated like a champion in all this?
The former assistant coach, who as the director of basketball operations was in charge of filing the practice tapes and keeping a record of them, tried to extort $950,000 from Pernetti, when he said "Gimme the money and this goes away. And if you don't..."
It's not heroic. It's extortion. Now Murdock is filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against Rutgers. Well, Eric, here's some news for you. You weren't fired or terminated. You just weren't rehired. Your contract expired and that was that. There's no cause for a suit. Wrongful termination, my derriere.
I don't understand how Murdock walks away from this looking like a hero. In my eyes, he walks away smelling like a rat.
From Atlanta and the Final Four, I'm trying to find a way how the Shockers of Wichita State are going to upset Louisville, but I can't. I also remember the former Wichita State head coach Eddie Fogler hanging out in Dohoney's in Jersey City way back when, saying that he was going to get Jerry Walker to go to Wichita. Fogler was certain he had a shot to get Walker, when in reality, he had no shot. Much like the Shockers have no shot today.
The second game will be more interesting. We're hoping that John Beilein and the Wolverines can somehow beat Syracuse. Beilein is a fantastic coach who coached Carlos Cueto at the University of Richmond. I coached Cueto, the current Secaucus High head coach, when he was 14. Is there a parallel? Hardly. But we want Beilein and the sensational Player of the Year Trey Burke to win.
With that, until Rutgers makes news with some other disaster, we will bid farewell and head out to enjoy the sights in Hotlanta.
You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com, and www.dailyrecord.com