PISCATAWAY, N.J. Once the video went viral, Mike Rice's coaching
days at Rutgers were over.
Now the question is whether anyone else will lose their jobs
including the athletic director who in December suspended and fined
Rice for the abusive behavior, and the university president who
signed off on it.
Rice was fired Wednesday, one day after a video surfaced of him
hitting, shoving and berating his players with anti-gay slurs. The
taunts were especially troubling behavior at Rutgers, where freshman
student Tyler Clementi killed himself in 2010 after his roommate
used a webcam to spy on him kissing another man in his dorm.
It also came at an especially embarrassing time for the NCAA,
with the country focused on the Final Four basketball tournament
Rice, in his third season with the Scarlet Knights, apologized
outside his home in Little Silver, N.J.
"I've let so many people down: my players, my administration,
Rutgers University, the fans, my family, who's sitting in their
house just huddled around because of the fact their father was an
embarrassment to them," he said. "I want to tell everybody who's
believed in me that I'm deeply sorry for the pain and hardship that
Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the tape by a
former employee in November and, after an independent investigator
was hired to review it, Rice was suspended for three games, fined
$75,000 and ordered to attend anger management classes. University
President Robert Barchi agreed to the penalty.
Pernetti initially said Tuesday he and Barchi viewed the video in
December. The president issued a statement Wednesday, saying he
didn't see it until Tuesday and then moved to fire the 44-year-old
coach for repeated abusive conduct. Through a school spokesman,
Pernetti backed up his president and said Barchi did not view the
video until this week.
"Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows
a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior," Barchi said
in a statement. "I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice
cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the
highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public
accountability. He cannot continue to coach at Rutgers University."
The video shows numerous clips of Rice at practice during his
three years at the school firing basketballs at players, hitting
them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders. It also shows him
grabbing players by their jerseys and yanking them around the court.
Rice can also be heard yelling obscenities and using gay slurs.
Several college coaches said they had never seen anything like
the Rutgers video and it broke a cardinal rule: Never put your hands
on a player. …