Rutgers Coach Gets Terminated—and Apologizes

Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was terminated for abusive behavior towards his players. The decision was a surprise only because it came months after Rice's suspension from the university.

The videos of Rice's interactions with players are shocking: throwing balls at them, pushing them, and calling them homophobic slurs. But the university's decision last year was to suspend him, fine him $75,000, and send him to anger management classes.

Only recently-within a day after a video of Rice became public-did the university decide to terminate his employment.

 Athletic Director Tim Pernetti is taking responsibility for the initial decision:

"I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. 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."

 Rice did apologize in this video interview:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie weighed in on the situation:

"Rutgers has done the right thing by firing Mr. Rice, but that still doesn't resolve questions about how he was allowed to continue overseeing college students after this behavior first came to the attention of Rutgers administration last year.

"I'm puzzled as to how anyone could think Mr. Rice was someone who should be representing our state university on a national level.

"I expect a full and detailed explanation from the Rutgers administration as to why Mr. Rice was not dismissed sooner and how exactly that decision was made. If answers aren't forthcoming, we are prepared to do what's needed to get them for the people of New Jersey."

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of the athletic director's statement: a noble admission, poor showing for a bad decision, or something else?
  • How do you assess Governor Christie's statement? Why would a state governor insert himself in this situation?