Rutgers Fires Coach After Practice Tape Airs

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 3 2013 10:23 AM

Rutgers Fires Coach After Public Learns of Abuse School Already Knew About

Head coach Mike Rice of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights coaches against the Syracuse Orange at Louis Brown Athletic Center on Feb. 19, 2012, in New Brunswick, N.J.
Head coach Mike Rice of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights coaches against the Syracuse Orange at Louis Brown Athletic Center on Feb. 19, 2012, in New Brunswick, N.J.

Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Rutgers University fired men's basketball coach Mike Rice this morning. "Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice," the school said in a statement on Twitter.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Those "previously discovered issues"? Rice's abusive behavior during team practices, during which he threw basketballs at his players, shoved them, used a variety of profane language including a gay slur, and acted generally like someone most parents wouldn't want anywhere near their children. The coach's actions were caught on tape, portions of which were aired by ESPN yesterday. The footage drew a quick rebuke from many sports columnists, and led New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to issue a statement saying that he was "deeply disturbed" by the whole thing.

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As the Star-Ledger explains, Rutgers had already reprimanded Rice for his actions last December, suspending him for three games without pay and fining him $50,000 after the school's athletic director, Tim Pernetti, was shown the damning footage. Once the tape went public, however, it appears as though Pernetti and the other school officials rethought just how inappropriate Rice's behavior was.

"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice," Pernetti said in a statement this morning. "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."

Here's some of the video:

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This post has been updated with additional information.

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