Mike Rice fired by Rutgers

By Matt SugamMike Rice

Mike Rice has been fired by Rutgers.

The firing comes in the wake of ESPN releasing videos of Mike Rice throwing of balls at players, grabbing their jerseys and pushing them, berating players and using a gay slur.

Rutgers has received public backlash since the video was aired on ESPN yesterday. The blowback has come nationally and from outside of the sports world.

Today, the school announced Rice has been terminated.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Rutgers  Athletic Director Tim Pernetti. “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.”

“This was a regrettable episode for the University, but I completely support the decision to remove Coach Rice,” Governor Chris Christie said in a statement. “It was the right and necessary action to take in light of the conduct displayed on the videotape.”

Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi issued the following statement on Rice:

 

Coach Rice’s abusive language and actions are deeply offensive and egregiously violate the university’s core values. Tim Pernetti, he immediately notified me and sought the advice of internal and outside counsel. The university hired an independent investigator to look into this matter thoroughly. Based on the external investigator’s findings and recommendations, Tim and I agreed that Coach Rice should be suspended, penalized $75,000 in fines and lost salary, ordered to undergo anger management counseling, and put on notice that his behavior would be closely monitored. Tim Pernetti also made it clear to Coach Rice that there would be zero tolerance for additional infractions. Tim kept me fully apprised and I supported his actions.

Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior. 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. Therefore, Tim Pernetti and I have jointly decided to terminate Mike Rice’s employment at Rutgers.

The video was put together by former assistant Eric Murdock’s attorney’s after his contract was not renewed last summer.

Murdock first brought the video to Rutgers. After watching the 30 minute video and conducting an investigation, Pernetti decided to suspend Rice for three games and fine him $50,000.

Rice coached at Rutgers for three years, compiling a 44-51 record. He had two years left on his five-year contract.

Follow Matt Sugam on Twitter

Like Matt Sugam on Facebook