Chris Christie has worked hard to develop a tough guy persona while serving as the Garden State’s governor, often getting into shouting matches and promoting what he believes to be bold stands for reform.
Despite this image, ESPN’s Ian O’Connor argues that Christie is, for some reason, afraid of Rutgers University president Robert Barchi.
O’Connor writes, “apparently the same outsized figure who has come to personify Jersey strength and stubbornness and resilience is indeed afraid of Rutgers president Robert Barchi, who somehow remains employed atop a state university that deserves much better.”
It is strange that the New Jersey governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate has been so reticent to hold the clearly in-over-his-head president accountable for the lack of action to correct the problems that have plagued the university’s now infamous athletic department.
Embarrassment after embarrassment have made the Scarlet Knights the subject of mockery and scorn, and it is difficult to remove blame from Barchi in situations where millions of taxpayer dollars are involved.
The university is coming off a major scandal where head basketball coach Mike Rice was physically and psychologically abusing players. The university ousted athletic director Tim Pernetti, laying of full blame at his feet. Rutgers then hired a coach that was later revealed to not be a graduate as he claimed, and now they have hired a new athletic director who has a history of emotionally abusing her players. More incredibly, Rutgers–and Barchi–did not vet Julie Harmann before making such a significant hire.
Barchi has taken no responsibility, and, for reasons not known, Christie has done nothing to remove the ineffective leader. One has to wonder why Christie, typically a man of action, has refused to rectify the situation.