College basketball coach fired after video nasty goes public

Rutgers take action after footage of practice sessions shown on TV

Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired after video of his practice sessions were released. Photograph:  Bill Kostroun/Reuters

Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired after video of his practice sessions were released. Photograph: Bill Kostroun/Reuters

Wed, Apr 3, 2013, 18:29

An American university has fired its men’s basketball coach a day after a video surfaced showing him berating his players during practices, throwing balls at them, kicking them and taunting them with slurs.

Rutgers fired Mike Rice today, nearly four months after the New Jersey university's athletic director, Tim Pernetti, suspended him for three games and fined him $50,000, with little elaboration. Today Pernetti called that decision a mistake and said that he would "work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community”.

Rutgers announced Rice's termination on its Twitter account this morning, saying: "Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice."

Rice could not be immediately reached for comment. On Tuesday ESPN broadcast video from 2010 to 2012 that showed Rice's conduct at practices. The video went viral, putting scrutiny on Rutgers and prompting the university to take further action.

"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of coach Rice," Pernetti said in a statement posted on the Rutgers website. "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."

The Rutgers president, Robert Barchi, also released a statement calling the initial punishment of Rice a mistake, even though he had been informed of Rice's behaviour and was involved in the decision to suspend Rice and fine him.

"Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behaviour," Barchi said in the statement posted on the Rutgers website.

"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.”

New York Times Service