Rutgers announced Thursday men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been suspended three games without pay and fined $50,000 for a violation of athletic department policy. “Mike will not be permitted to do anything. He’ll be removed from the program. He won’t be able to be active in his role as head basketball coach inside or outside the university,” athletic director Tim Pernetti said. “The suspension for this period of time and these games is a complete removal from the program.” The suspension is not related to any NCAA violations, just school expectations. The problem is some of the people supposedly affected by coach Rice’s violations did not understand the judgment.
Senior forward Austin Johnson said he was shocked to hear his coach was suspended. When asked if he had ever seen anything in practice he deemed inappropriate, Johnson said “No, I don’t recall seeing anything specifically. All I recall is high-intensity practices, day in, day out. Even if it was high intensity, we reciprocated and we tried to give it back.” Acting head coach David Cox also said he was surprised by the suspension and could not recall anything that required a suspension but took the high road when talking about the incident. “I think times have changed,” Cox said. “We probably as coaches, as adults, have to come a little bit further to meet some of these young men that we’re working with in this day and age.”
So the question is, why is Rutgers being so secretive about what happened? “I was made aware of some things within the last couple of weeks. We commenced a thorough, lengthy and fair investigation and this was the result of that investigation,” Pernetti said. “There was obviously some things that are not to the Rutgers’ standard that we evaluated and decided upon.” Give us some details Rutgers. Right now it sounds like they have a coach who demands that his players work hard and holds them accountable. Unless more details are released it just looks like Rutgers is protecting entitled players rather than backing the authority figure for these young men. That sends a bad message.