Mike Rice is the head coach — and Head Bully — of the Rutgers University basketball team.  By the time you read this, Rice may be long gone, but his bloody head will not be the only one rolling down College Avenue.  Athletic Director Tim Pernetti most certainly should lose his head as well — as should Pernetti’s school bosses, like the President Robert Barchi, who, it appears, refused, along with Pernetti, to fire Mike Rice in November 2012 even after watching video evidence of the coach physically and verbally abusing his undergraduate basketball team during practice.  The Rutgers Board of Trustees must act now and clean the Rutgers house and fire Mike Rice, Tim Pernetti and President Robert Barchi — because they were all in collusion to not protect the welfare of the student athletes entrusted to their care.

ESPN broke the news today, with this story, and direct evidence of Rice’s ongoing absolute abuse of power over his team since 2010.  Rice is an angry coward and a bully and now he, too, shall get his due:

How could Pernetti not fire Mike Rice after viewing the video evidence and watching that sort of behavior during practice?  It doesn’t matter if Pernetti’s bosses did not want to fire Rice.  Pernetti should have had the moral duty to stand up and say, “If he stays, I go.”  He did not.  Pernetti took the easy path, the circuitous route, the coward’s slide — and merely suspended Rice for a few games in December to his ultimate, future, peril.

Rutgers has an unfortunate history of bullying — as in the death of Tyler Clementi — and now they have an even more blood on their hands with this humiliating bully behavior of their head coach.  You may not call names.  You may not throw basketballs at a player’s head.  You may not kick a student.  You may not grab a student.  You pay not push a student.  You may not scream at a student like a lunatic.

This whole, awful, Rutgers episode is not new, and it appears, has been going on since at least 2010.  There are no secrets on a university campus, so important, powerful, people at Rutgers knew precisely what was going on with Mike Rice during basketball practice — and everyone who protected the bully now must be fired in order to restore the natural moral order.


  1. I abhor bullying of any kind. I seem to remember that you were at Rutgers for a time – was bullying prevalent then ?

    1. I wasn’t teaching on the main Rutgers campus. I mainly taught on the Newark campus. I wasn’t aware of any bullying issues, but these things tend to begin and fester institutionally for a long time. Are you able to watch the embedded video in this article from Portugal, or is it blocked?

  2. I wasnt aware it was a split campus ………………. large institutions can often be very complicit in bullying as they ignore , or even fire people who report it.

    I was able to see the video just fine – no problems at all.

    1. Oh, that’s good you could watch the video. Anyone who watches the guy abusing his players wonders how in the world he was able to keep his job. He has a history of being an angry and mean coach before he was even hired, and for the Rutgers administration to protect him — when he isn’t a great coach! — is unfathomable.

      Rutgers has three big campuses. It’s a massive school:


  3. As a proud graduate I am sad to know this happened at my alma mater. I hope he is swiftly sacked.

    1. It will be interesting to see how far the sackings go up the line. Gov. Christie today offered little to no support for the administration — but we know he isn’t wild about Rutgers anyway.

  4. UPDATE:

    It’s unfortunate how Rutgers is still trying to spin this as a “first offense” and how “no student players lined up to complain” — clearly not comprehending how bullying works and how abusers use the power dyad to get their way. The bully lives in silence and thrives in the darkness of no complaints!

    For Pernetti to repeatedly say Rice’s behavior was “unacceptable” — and still keep him, is just strange.

  5. UPDATE:

    Rice is terminated.

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers fired basketball coach Mike Rice on Wednesday after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs during practice.

    The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”, prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie. The head of the New Jersey Assembly called for Rice to be fired.


    I can’t believe it took so long!

    1. Too late to stop the bleeding and the leaving, though:

      For the third time in a week, Rutgers basketball players are transferring out of the school.

      Sophomore Jerome Seagears and junior college transfer Vincent Garrett will both leave the university at the end of the academic year, according to a person with knowledge of the players’ intentions. …

      Five players have transferred out of Rutgers in the last year: sophomore guard Malick Kone announced his intentions to leave last week while shooting guard Austin Carroll (American) and forward Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) both left in the spring of 2012.


      Now I wonder what other heads will roll?

    1. Right! Today, the President of Rutgers said he “just saw” the video yesterday and not back in November — even though his own AD Pernetti said he approved the sanctions after viewing the same video evidence last year!

  6. UPDATE:

    Pernetti is out:

    A person familiar with the decision says Tim Pernetti is out as Rutgers athletic director.

    The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made yet. The school will hold a press conference on campus at 1 p.m.


    One left to go…

    1. Of course, Pernetti blames those above him:

      Also in his statement, Pernetti, 42, said he wanted to fire Rice but that he apparently didn’t have the support of his superiors. The 42-year-old Pernetti, with the approval of Barchi, initially suspended Rice three games in December 2012 and fined him $50,000 when Rice’s mistreatment of players was brought to the AD’s attention.

      “I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the events which led to today. As you know, my first instincts when I saw the videotape of Coach Rice’s behavior was to fire him immediately. However, Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel,” Pernetti said. “Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal. I have admitted my role in, and regret for, that decision, and wish that I had the opportunity to go back and override it for the sake of everyone involved.”


      Still one left to go…

  7. I hate reading about scandals at colleges because they always seem to have been swept under the rug for a while. You would think human decency would trump collusion among higher-ups.

    1. That’s right, Emily. By the time these things come to light — it’s too late to take it all back. You’d think Rutgers would’ve learned from the thrashing Penn State took in the court of public opinion.

  8. UPDATE:

    At a news conference Friday afternoon, Dr. Barchi announced the resignations of Mr. Pernetti and John B. Wolf, the university’s general counsel. Dr. Barchi placed the blame for the decision to suspend rather than fire Mr. Rice in December squarely on Mr. Pernetti and the university’s lawyers, saying he had not watched the video of Mr. Rice’s actions last fall and instead had relied on their descriptions of it.

    “I know had I seen the tape that my assessment would have differed from theirs, and I would have acted on my assessment,” Dr. Barchi said.

    When asked why he had not watched the video, he said: “I can’t answer exactly why I didn’t. You can only say in retrospect I sure wish I had.”


    So, it looks like Barchi will stay after all by blaming it all on Pernetti. Barchi’s supporters don’t want basketball to take down the $75 reorganization of UMDNJ into Rutgers that Barchi was specifically hired to head.

  9. This morning’s NYTimes makes everything even deeper, and more despicable at Rugers:

    But Mr. Pernetti is hardly the only person who watched the edited video and still approved of keeping Mr. Rice on staff until last week. The athletic department’s human resources and chief financial officer saw the video, as did the university’s outside legal counsel. At least one member of the board of governors saw it. Robert L. Barchi, the university president, has said he did not see it before last week, although at least one of his senior directors asked him to watch it.

    Interviews with university officials, former players and members of the board, as well as reviews of internal documents and legal records, show that when the most senior Rutgers officials were confronted with explicit details about Mr. Rice’s behavior toward his players and his staff, they ignored them or issued relatively light penalties.


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