Wed., 12:45pm: Rutgers fires Boardman’s Mike Rice
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers fired basketball coach Mike Rice, Jr., on Wednesday after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.
The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN, prompted sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie, and the head of the New Jersey Assembly called for Rice to be fired.
With mounting criticism on a state and national level, the school decided to take action, relieving the Boardman native of his duties after three largely unsuccessful seasons at the Big East school. There will be a national search to replace him.
Rice’s father compiled an impressive record as Youngstown State’s head coach, taking the Penguins to the Ohio Valley Conference championship on multiple occasions and earning a post-season home game before retiring to join ESPN.
Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video in late November by a former employee. After hiring independent investigators to analyze the tape, he suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes. University president Robert Barchi signed off on the initial punishment.
But in a Wednesday email, Rutgers referred to new information and “a review of previously discovered issues” as the reasons for Rice’s termination.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Pernetti said. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”
Less than an hour after the dismissal, Barchi released a statement.
“Rutgers University has a long and proud history as one of the nation’s most diverse and welcoming academic institutions. Coach Rice’s abusive language and actions are deeply offensive and egregiously violate the university’s core values,” the statement said.