"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," according to Charles Dickens. And the New Jersey media. Today's literary exercise is to compare two columns, in the same state, discussing the same event, namely the hiring of Tim Pernetti as Rutgers' AD. Our candidates for best and worst? Harvey Yavener of the Trenton Times and Fran Wood of Newark Star Ledger. First let's look at each writer's professional experience. Yavener's been writing about Rutgers football since at least 1993 and discusses speaking to Pernetti when he was a player. Wood's familiarity with Rutgers sports? More of a generalist I suppose. Exhibit A? Her column prior to this one was entitled, "Chimp Attack: Was help delayed by 911 operator?"
Sources? Yavener has interviewed Pernetti as a player, and has seen and spoken with him on almost a weekly basis during football season since 2001. Wood? Don't know if she's ever spoken to Pernetti. Fear not, she relies upon an editorial previously written by the Star Ledger. The author of this editorial? The anonymous Star Ledger editorial staff. Apparently they feel that they are so famous they don't need to identify themselves anymore.
Yavener's opinion? "Specifically, Pernetti's appointment seems to assure that Greg Schiano stays at Rutgers, stays firm to the mutual pledges he and Mulcahy shared, stays firm to the principles he articulated each time a Miami or a Michigan or any other high-profile program came after him with lucrative offers."
Wood's opinion?There can't be many people who weren't stunned by the news of a chimpanzee attacking a friend of his owner. But there's a little-noticed footnote to the story that, to me, is almost as troubling -- a 911 operator's delay in responding to the victim's frantic call for help.
Oops! Sorry, wrong editorial. Here's the right one. But perhaps the most salient information about Pernetti is that he's an FOG - or Friend of Greg. Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano and Pernetti have known each other since Pernetti's high school days, when Schiano was his coach. . . .The Star-Ledger's Thursday editorial said the board "fumbled" the hire and called the search for a new athletic director "a sham."
Yavener's bottom line? Since Pernetti has been involved with the program through it's darkest, laughingstock days, he will bring a unique and worthwhile perspective to the job.
Wood's? Pernetti is a FOG (Friend of Schiano) and shouldn't be the Rutgers AD because he blew his nose in a copy of the Star Ledger before the Papa Johns Bowl.
YOU MAKE THE CALL. Who's right? I agree with Yavener and part of what Wood says. I agree that Pernetti is a friend of Greg Schiano. The nose blowing incident? I have a different take. To me, this is evidence of the substantial diplomacy skills Mr. Pernetti will bring to the job. Rather than using the Star Ledger for other personal hygiene needs as has been suggested by numerous Rutgers' fans, Mr. Pernetti found, while not the best use for the Star Ledger, a useful one nonetheless. This shows his sensitivity to environmental issues and his stance on recycling will make Rutgers a "greener" place. Truly there is much more to Tim Pernetti than meets the eye.