« Two Former Executives Plead Guilty to Multistate School Sports Fraud | Main | 'Tebow Bills' for Homeschooled Athletes Advance in Three States »

Rutgers Basketball Coach Filmed Cursing, Throwing Balls at Players

Rutgers head coach Mike Rice calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against DePaul at the Big East Conference tournament on March 12 in New York

Rutgers University men's basketball coach Mike Rice came under scalding hot water Tuesday when ESPN aired a video of him throwing basketballs and cursing at his players.

For a man who likely promised parents during the recruiting process that he'd treat their sons with the utmost respect as student-athletes, the video shows the exact opposite came true when these players stepped on campus.

Beyond the physical abuse the players endured, Rice dished verbal abuse, too. In the video, which you can see below, Rice spews profanities at his players, including calling one a "f---ing fairy." (Keep in mind, a Rutgers student committed suicide a few years ago after his roommate livestreamed him having a gay encounter in his dorm room.)

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti first viewed the video in December, according to ESPN's Outside The Lines show, and suspended Rice for three games as a result.

The fact Rice wasn't fired on the spot back in December generated nearly universal outrage on Twitter after ESPN aired the video on Tuesday.

After seeing the footage, CBSsports.com columnist Gregg Doyel took to Twitter and immediately called for Rice's head:

In a column filed later Tuesday, Doyel calls Rice "a bully," asking how badly an employee has to behave at Rutgers to lose his job.

He wasn't the only CBSsports.com staffer to do so, either. Fellow college basketball reporter Gary Parrish wrote that not only did Rice deserve to get the ax, but that Pernetti's job is likely now in danger, too.

You'll find similar takes on every major sports website. ESPN.com reporter Dana O'Neil wrote that Rice's actions were "abusive, cruel, and out of bounds," and said "it's about time we drew the boundaries." Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner wrote that "both Rice and athletic director Tim Pernetti should be on awfully thin ice for how this was allowed to happen and subsequently handled by the athletic department." Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde joined Doyel of CBSsports.com in saying that Rice "bullied" his players.

Even LeBron James, the National Basketball Association's reigning Most Valuable Player, weighed in on Twitter:

It's not exactly breaking news to say that Rice was in the wrong with his actions, both verbal and physical. In no way should student-athletes be subjected to the types of abuse that the Rutgers men's basketball team endured this past season.

Like two Steubenville high school football players found out earlier this month, technology has become a great equalizer in terms of publicizing abuse. Whether it's ill-advised tweets or a practice film gone horribly wrong, students aren't the only ones who need to assume that they need to be on their best behavior at all times.

UPDATE (4/3, 11:30 AM): Rutgers fired Rice this morning after the university president "personally reviewed" the video. Pernetti, for now, is still the school's athletic director.

UPDATE (4/5, 12:15 PM): Pernetti stepped down as Rutgers athletic director this morning, a source told ESPN.com. The school president will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. ET today, according to ESPN.com.

Photo: Rutgers head coach Mike Rice calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against DePaul at the Big East Conference tournament on March 12 in New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Want all the latest K-12 sports news? Follow @SchooledinSport on Twitter.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments