Rutgers abuse scandal roundup: Former Robert Morris player says Mike Rice used gay slur
|04.09.13 at 12:01 pm ET|
A former Robert Morris basketball player told school officials that Mike Rice threw a basketball at a player “once or twice” and used a homophobic slur during his time at the university.
Last week, during an episode of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Rice’s physical and verbal abuse against his players at Rutgers became public knowledge. The day after the airing, Rice was fired. A former Rutgers staff member alleged that Rice also was involved in “coaches vs. players” brawls while coaching Robert Morris from 2007-10.
Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman said that an internal investigation did not reveal any evidence of the alleged fights. Coleman also said that one player, who left the program while Rice was at the helm, told school officials that the coach directed a gay slur at him and was involved in a shoving match with another during halftime of a game. The other player has denied having any improper contact with Rice.
RUTGERS REVIEWING PRACTICE VIDEOS FOR ALL SPORTS
Rutgers president Robert Barchi announced Monday that school officials are reviewing practice videos for all of the school’s sports teams to see if any other coach has engaged in similar behavior to Rice. The school also announced that it plans to hire a consultant to conduct an independent review of the situation.
During a town hall meeting on the school’s campus on Monday, Barchi said that he wants any instances of bullying or homophobic language to be reported immediately. Barchi acknowledged that he should have viewed the video of the abuse back in November, when it first surfaced, and that he would have fired Rice then.
Rice was not the only Rutgers employee to depart following the video’s release, as athletic director Tim Pernetti, an assistant basketball coach and the university’s top lawyer resigned last week.
During a news conference on Monday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended Barchi’s performance and criticized Rice’s behavior. Additionally, Christie was upset with the lack of action taken by Pernetti, among others, when the video was given to Pernetti last fall.
“They were wrong not to come to the conclusion that coach Rice needed to be fired immediately,” Christie said.
Christie added that he viewed the video as both a governor and a father of a college athlete. His son, Andrew, is a catcher for the Princeton baseball team.
“You’re talking about kids being miserably treated by the guy who determined whether they keep their scholarships or not,” Christie said. “What parent would let this animal back into their living room to try to recruit their son after this video?”
One of the other people who had seen the video was the chairman of the university board of governors’ athletics committee, Mark Hershhorn. Hershhorn released a statement through his lawyer on Monday, insisting that he called for Rice’s firing when he viewed the video in early December. He said that he told Pernetti that if the video was authenticated, Rice needed to be fired immediately.
This scandal has even gotten the FBI involved. The FBI is investigating whether former Rutgers basketball employee Eric Murdock asked for money from the school in exchange for not making the video public, The Associated Press reported.
PERNETTI RECEIVES $1.2 MILLION, iPAD IN SETTLEMENT
It wasn’t all bad for Pernetti after the abuse scandal cost him his job. In a settlement agreement with the university, Pernetti will receive his $1.2 million salary, an iPad, a car allowance and more than two years of health insurance coverage.
The Associated Press obtained details about the settlement Monday through an open records request with Rutgers. The Star-Ledger previously reported some details on the situation.
In the agreement, Pernetti will be paid his base salary of $453,000 per year through June 2014, and a one-time payment of $679,500 during the next month. Even if Pernetti receives another job, he still will be paid this amount. The perks don’t end there. His $12,000 per year car allowance will run through June 2014, and his health insurance and pension payments go through October 2015.
Rutgers also agreed to represent Pernetti in any lawsuits related to his job as athletic director, and agreed not to say anything negative about him to the media or possible employers. Meanwhile, Pernetti has agreed not to disparage the school publicly, but he is permitted to speak about the Rice situation.
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