Former Athletes Voice Support for Pernetti

Regardless of mistakes made in the Mike Rice scandal, former Rutgers athletes spoke out in droves to support athletic director Tim Pernetti. From former football stars to Olympic sports athletes, Pernetti has strong support from many athletes that knew him personally.

Former Rutgers athletes have been quick to respond with messages of support for athletic director Tim Pernetti, who is under fire for his handling of the Mike Rice situation.

Pernetti has been active in both revenue-generating and Olympic sports during his Rutgers tenure and has passionate support from former athletes in contact with and via social media.

Football defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (via Twitter) -- "When you're in a situation like I have been for the past 2 1/2 years, you truly see the character of people. Tim Pernetti has shown me and RU how great of a person he really is, and how much he really cares. He's a stand-up guy that only wants to better the university."

Football running back Ray Rice -- Big Ten doesn't heppn without Mr. Pernett. He has done great for RU. Our future is bright with him leading us."

Basketball forward Austin Johnson -- "I think he's one of the best Ads in the country. He's done a ton of great things for Rutgers."

Football defensive tackle Scott Vallone -- "This situation is very unfortunate. However, Mr. Pernetti has shown his high level of character on numerous occasions such as his support of my friend Eric LeGrand, and his instrumental contributions on moving Rutgers athletics program to the Big Ten. I do not believe one tough situation should define the type of person he is viewed as."

Football cornerback Logan Ryan -- "He's a great leader, a great person and also one of the biggest fans of Rutgers athletics."

Football tackle R.J. Dill -- "He is a great AD but an even better man and that's all I want to say."

Football linebacker Kevin Malast -- "What always jumps out to me about Tim Pernetti was his passion for Rutgers University. With Tim being a former student athlete himself at the school, I know in his heart he always does and will do what is best for the university. He is an excellent AD and this school is extremely blessed to have him."

Softball pitcher Nicole Lindley -- "When [Pernetti] first came in, it was a totally different atmosphere. He was coming to our games. He was supporting athletics in a way we never had before. It was a really big turnaround. Other athletes saw that and felt valued. My senior year, we got into the Big East tournament for the first time. He actually came onto our bus before we left and personally congratulated us on getting that far. He's a great guy and he did really big things for Rutgers. I hate that this negative thing overshadows all of the great things he's done for Rutgers athletics and the school. It's really unfortunate that people focus on the negative side of everything when it comes out."

Gymnast Leigh Heinbaugh -- "He was more like a mentor than an out-of-touch authority figure that most people would think about of an AD as [being]. He was very supportive of every sport and had an open-door policy when it came to his athletes. He made an effort to get to know every athlete personally. I know that to this day I can go to him for anything and he would be willing to help. I would consider him a great role model for not just student athletes but any student at Rutgers University."

Football center Ryan Blaszczyk -- "Mr. Pernetti has been a great influence over Rutgers athletics. He has taken Rutgers so far in the short amount of time he has been the Athletic Director. I hope that everything works for the best for him and his family."

Football quarterback Tom Savage (via Twitter) – "Rutgers wouldn't be the same without Pernetti ...'12 recruiting class, coach [Kyle] Flood, Big Ten. ... He's an asset.

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