Last month, Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti announced that men's basketball coach Mike Rice would be brought back for a fourth season, despite speculation to the contrary. In three seasons at Rutgers, Rice's teams have posted an unimpressive 44-51 record. The way he treats his players may be a big reason why.
But this morning, Pernetti changed course, and the university fire Rice less than 24 hours after video of Rice physically and verbally assaulting players surfaced.
In this footage of Rutgers basketball practices obtained by ESPN's Outside the Lines, Rice can be seen acting like a complete maniac. In it, he not only does he curse at players and call one a "faggot," he can be seen violently shoving and kicking his them. Multiple times Rice throws basketballs at his players, even at their heads.
Rutgers simply had no choice. There is no way in the year 2013 that a basketball coach at a major university can act like that and keep his job.
"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice," said Pernetti in statement. "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."
In December, Rice was fined $50,000 and suspended three games by the university after the athletic department watched the footage. However, the university did not go into details as to why Rice was disciplined. According to former director of player development Eric Murdock, Rice's behavior prompted some players to transfer.
As an added bit of irony, here is the Rutgers University Athletic Department's mission statement, which Rice fell woefully short of fulfilling:
"The mission of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics is to reflect, reinforce, and enhance the educational mission of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey by creating an environment of excellence where student-athletes will develop the life skills, academic skills, and athletic skills that will enable them to earn degrees, become leaders, and win championships. In all areas of its operation, the Division’s student-athletes, coaches, staff and programs shall embody the core values of accountability, respect, integrity, academic achievement, community service, fairness, diversity, and sportsmanship."