Rutgers Fires Coach Amid Controversy

BY KATIE JOHNSTONE
SC Staff Writer

 

Rutgers University has become the latest major college to be rocked by scandal.

Men’s Basketball coach Mike Rice was fired after a video aired last week on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines,” which showed Rice abusing the players both mentally and physically.

Known for having a hot head and overly passionate demeanor, Rice is no stranger to a questioning public eye.  The video footage exposed the ex-coach aggressively screaming gay slurs, degrading comments, and obscenities at the players.

Along with the verbal threats came a number of violent acts used to control the team and strive for success.  In the same videos, Rice was seen grabbing at the player’s jerseys, screaming in their faces, and sometimes shoving them aside in anger.

Other footage shows him hurling basketballs at player’s heads, knees, and stomachs. The profanity-laced yelling was filled with beeps when it was shown on TV. Many players stood motionless to these actions and continued to endure the practice.

Aside from the hitting and name-calling, players, families, sports fans and other individuals aware of this scandal were floored by another dark fact.  As of April 5, the public was informed that there were a number of university insiders who are no stranger to this information.

As early as December 2012, these officials included  members of the university’s board of governors. Information released indicated that Rice was caught once before and the incident was handled internally.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti decided to suspend the former coach for three games and send him to anger management counseling, in an attempt to “rehabilitate” the aggressive coach without intending to fire him from the position. (Rice was also fined $50,000).

The blame game circles around Rutgers University as to who exactly decided not to fire Rice in the first place.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned two days after the firing with an implication that his involvement in the situation was being used as a scapegoat in the big scheme of things. He was quoted in a New York Times saying, “Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel.”

Contrary to Pernetti, Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi, remembers that along with other individuals, he recommended that Rice be suspended rather than fired.

Along with the University President and Athletic Director, an outside lawyer, John P. Lacey, also raises eyebrows and questions after a report was released on Friday, April 5th. In the report, incidents of Rice’s outbursts and violent behavior were addressed.

The report, covered by The New York Times stated that “while sometimes unorthodox, politically incorrect, or very aggressive, were within the bounds of proper conduct and training methods.”

As days go by, more and more will become apparent. While the NCAA president has commented on the scandal,  whether or not the NCAA will take action remains unknown.

Email Katie at:
kmj8478@live.esu.edu

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