On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN‘s Outside the Lines released a video of practice footage from Rutgers University showcasing the brutality of incidents that took place under head basketball coach, Mike Rice.
A media firestorm ensued after the tape’s release, basically forcing the university and athletic director Tim Pernetti to act. New Jersey governor Chris Christie released a statement on Rice’s actions on Tuesday evening, and the tapes were picked up across the nation by CBS and CNN, for example.
Following an early Wednesday morning meeting between Pernetti and Rice, Rutgers announced that they have parted ways with their head coach, firing him amid the turmoil. Rice spent three seasons at Rutgers, failing to get the Scarlet Knights above .500 on each occasion.
Rice was 44-51 in his career at Rutgers, so even despite the initial support from Pernetti, this should have been a no-brain situation for the university, even from a basketball sense. Rice was seen throwing basketball at players, shoving players in the middle of practice and even more damaging, using gay and inappropriate slurs in their direction.
According to reports, at least four Rutgers’ players made their decisions to transfer, simply because of Rice, his unnecessary coaching style and the actions he took at practice. Rice is known for his fiery and competitive spirit, but as the video release indicates, his actions were just way too much.
Ironically enough, it appeared that as of mid-afternoon yesterday, Pernetti was comfortable with his decisions up to that point. Rice had been suspended three games earlier in the year for the practice footage. Upon the tapes release however, the public perception quickly changed that.
After all that has been made public of the past 24 hours, this was the right decision by Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights’ program needs someone who can pull them out of their basketball struggles and now, current turmoil.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS