Rutgers, Pernetti fire Rice after video release

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — 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, 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.

With mounting criticism on a state and national level, the school decided to take action, relieving Rice of his duties after

three largely unsuccessful seasons at the Big East school. There will be a national search to replace him.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti was

given a copy of the video in late November by a former employee. After

hiring independent

investigators to analyze the tape, he suspended Rice for three

games, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management

classes. University president Robert Barchi saw the tape and

signed off on the initial punishment.

But in a Wednesday email, Rutgers referred to new information and "a review of previously discovered issues" as the reasons

for Rice's termination.

"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."

Rice, who helped Robert Morris to two NCAA

tournament appearances, was one of the hot coaching candidates in the

spring of

2010. He interviewed with Fordham, where he played as a guard,

only to not get the chance to return to his alma mater. Eventually,

there was a difference in opinion in the school's search

committee, and Rice's fiery, in-game behavior was a sticking point.

But Rutgers, and Pernetti, took a chance on

him not long after that. The Scarlet Knights had an opening because of

the unexpected

dismissal of Fred Hill, and Rice, who has strong New Jersey

recruiting roots, seemed like a fit.

But he wasn't able to push Rutgers into the

upper echelon of the conference, and went just 44-51 at Rutgers. Rice

posted just

a 16-38 mark in the Big East, after going 73-31 in three seasons

at Robert Morris. The Scarlet Knights went 15-16 this season

and 5-13 in the league.

But his success — or lack thereof — on the court is all secondary now. The school is no longer dealing with an issue of wins

and losses, but of right and wrong.