In wake of disturbing practice abuse video, Rutgers fires Mike Rice

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Rutgers coach Mike Rice has been fired less than 24 hours after the video of him physically and verbally abusing players made its way to the public. The school officially released the news Wednesday morning.

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The Star-Ledger and the Record, both New Jersey newspapers, initially reported Rice met with Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti on Wednesday morning. After Pernetti defended his initial decision and his coach on television Tuesday, public outcry over Rice still having a job led him to make a heel turn toward the inevitable: termination of Rice's contract.

Jason Baum, Rutgers' Senior Associate Athletic Director of Communications, publicly broke the news in a tweet.

"I've let so many people down," Rice said in the video above, from this morning. "My family, who's sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact their father is, was, an embarrassment to them. It's troubling, but I will, at some time, maybe I'll try to explain it. But right now, there's no explanation for what's on those films because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong."

The matter of Rice's anger is an old one, dating to last November/December, but this story became fire on gasoline Tuesday afternoon after ESPN aired the clips of Rice chucking basketballs at players, kicking certain members of the team and berating them with offensive language that included homophobic slurs.

This led to those clips being shown on national news broadcasts and New Jersey politicians echoing the views of the general public in calling for Rice to be removed as coach. Rice was initially suspended three games, fined $50,000 by Rutgers and mandated to undergo anger management counseling, in addition to strict monitoring by the university.

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

The 44-year-old Rice, formerly the head coach at Robert Morris and previously an assistant at Pittsburgh and Saint Joseph's, coached Rutgers to a 44-51 record in three seasons.

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