Rutgers head coach Mike Rice is under fire today after ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” published a video of him pushing, grabbing and throwing basketballs at his players. The clip has resulted in many questioning why this was just coming to light now, and why Rice hadn’t been more severely disciplined up to this point.
In an effort to do some damage control, Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti went on WFAN in New York and answered questions about the abuse taking place in the video.
"I think now that [the videotape] is out there -- we knew it was going to get out there," he said. "The reaction -- we knew what it was going to be. I need to sit here and think about what gives us the ability to be effective going forward in men's basketball, and more importantly, what protects the university.
"There's a lot of things on my mind right now that I'm thinking through and trying to make sure that whatever decisions I make on a going-forward basis, that we try to make the right one."
According to the Asociated Press, Pernetti previously investigated Rice for player abuse last summer. His findings resulted in him suspended the Rutgers head coach for three games in December, and then fining him $50,000. Rice was also reportedly required to take anger management classes.
However, in light of the public outcry that has been sparked by OTL’s report, Pernetti is apparently reevaluating whether a more strict punishment is necessary.
"I spent more time with that option on whether we should fire Mike or not than any other option," Pernetti said. "At the same time, the results of the investigation and where we ended up, the determination was made to suspend him.
"My biggest concern as the AD is that I am always trying to protect the interests and reputation of the university, and that's what makes this one so difficult. There is a lot of hindsight, 20-20, that will be that there will be no other option than to terminate Mike. I made that decision. I am accountable for it. I have to live with it."
One of the people calling for more punishment is New Jersey governor, Chris Christie.
"Gov. Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior," spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement. "It's not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University."
Rutgers brought Rice on board three years ago after he went 73-31 during his run at Robert Morris. His career record with the Scarlet Knights is 44-51.
You can check out OTL’s feature on Rice in the video below.