(USA TODAY) -- Put the short lists away, at least for a few weeks. The Rutgers men's basketball coaching search just got benched.
As if the program didn't take enough hits with the dismissal of head coach Mike Rice and the impending transfer of three players, including point guard Jerome Seagears, Friday's resignation of athletics director Tim Pernetti pushed the search for Rice's successor to the backburner.
The consequences of that could be dire. The more time that elapses, the smaller the pool of attractive candidates becomes. Not to mention the increased chance of more defections by players, who currently are under the auspices of interim head coach David Cox.
"In the grand scheme of things, if Cox isn't chosen to stay on board, it sets you back a long way," said longtime booster Brian Kelley, who serves as president of the Court Club. "Now you have to go through and intense AD search, pick the right guy with all the scrutiny in the world on you, and then find a basketball coach with the same scrutiny. It's a very difficult spot."
Then there is the recruiting situation. Rice had garnered three commitments for his 2013 class - point guard Shane Rector and junior college wings Craig Brown and Chris Griffin. All three said earlier this week they would stay in a holding pattern while the transition unfolded. But if a full month elapses - which seems likely at this point - all bets are off.
"Every day that goes by doubts creep in with the players," Kelley said. "The way this has been handled really would make a parent or an AAU coach wonder what the hell is going on at Rutgers and why would I send my kid to play there?"
President Robert L. Barchi said Friday he would appoint an interim athletic director "in the coming days."
In the fast-moving world of major college basketball, that's an eternity.