Mike Rice’s tenure – Dollar$ over Sense

Posted: April 4, 2013 by OnDNxtLvl in BREAKING NEWS, MarchMadness


Former Rutgers Basketball coach Mike Rice paid the price for his transgressions – fired for verbally and physically abusing his players during practices.  Rice’s disturbing behavior came to light late last November.  Rutgers Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti,  watched a videotape highlighting Rice hitting his players with a basketball thrown from point-blank range, repeatedly manhandling his student athletes and calling them every foul name in the book – including a litany of homophobic slurs.  He was routinely aggressive, abusive and menacing.  So much so it seemed the players were unfazed by his behavior, as if it was old-hat.  In December of 2012 the AD and the school president, Robert Barchi, made the now maligned decision to simply fine their coach $50,000  and suspend him for three games – while never earnestly representing the vile nature of Rice’s actions to the public, the NCAA or the parents of the student athletes.

Lebron James tweeted regarding Mike Rice’s behavior: “If my son played for Rutgers or a school like that he would have some explaining to do and I’m still going to whoop on him afterwards! C’mon”

Well now someone has done what those cowards could not.  The video of Rice bullying his players was handed to ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” staff and this has become a national story.  The day the video surfaced the AD offered excuses on his handling of the situation, stating it was a “one time offense”.  A blatant lie since the video spanned years of recorded practices.  The following day, Wednesday April 3rd, Rice was fired.  No surprises here.  Student athletes being taken advantage of? Slap on the wrist.  Bad publicity however….you’re out the door.


Jeff Van Gundy stated in a radio interview “…firing him was inevitable but he shouldn’t be the only one to go.  How does an AD and a college president view the same footage and come to the decision just to suspend”

You see, Pernetti, a first time AD, made his living as a television executive before running the Rutgers athletic program.  He understands the entertainment business and cut his teeth on presenting college athletics to the masses.  His priorities were brand image and marketing dollars.  So he put the safety and mental health of his students on the back burner while protecting his programs financial well-being.  In December of 2012 Rutgers University was in negotiations to join the Big Ten, ensuring them a windfall of television dollars and vaulting them to national relevance.  A firing in December would bring unwanted scrutiny to a program on the way up.  So he left the kids in harm’s way.  This was just two short years removed from when a Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide after his roommate recorded him having sex with a man.  The roommate decided to make this private experience available for public consumption, humiliating Tyler who had not come out publicly with his sexual orientation.  You would think the AD and school president would be hypersensitive to the student body’s well being.  You would be wrong.

Mike Rice spoke outside of his home today.  He was a beaten man – humbled by his firing, humiliated by his actions.  “I’ve let so many people down” Mike said.  It’s a lot easier to seem strong and in control when you’re bullying 20 year old kids who are dependent on you for minutes…for their scholarships.  If one of those students were to react in kind you could be sure he would never play basketball for any relevant program again.  That thought was prevalent in each players mind.  Mike knew that.  He preyed on that fact for years.  Hopefully Mike will see that very fate…unless you’d let him coach your child’s basketball team.


  1. Marco says:

    What I find interesting is what happened to Murdoch. Rutgers is claiming they didn’t renew his contract because he went to his son’s basketball camp instead of a Rutgers functions. See he loses his job for something simple like that but coach Rice gets fined for abusing students. The disciplines aren’t consistent. They don’t match up. Seems to me Murdoch got fired for blowing the whistle.

  2. OnDNxtLvl says:

    Just as telling is the fact that RU renewed RIce’s contract the very same December in which he was fined/suspended. Looks like Murdoch’s wrongful termination lawsuit has legs. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/ass-coach-hits-rutgers-lawsuit-article-1.1308948

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