On Wednesday morning the university sent out a pithy press release announcing the firing of Rice, which also features athletic director Tim Pernetti apologizing for not doing so in December, when Rice was suspended and fined. The release reads as follows:
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 3, 2013) – Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti. “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.”
On Tuesday, a video was released to the public by the university — in advance of an ESPN Outside the Lines investigative report — that depicts Rice grabbing players, throwing basketballs at them and using homophobic slurs during a number of practices. The video was given to ESPN by former assistant coach, and former NBA All-Star, Eric Murdock, who is now suing the university for wrongful termination.
Murdock originally brought the video to Pernetti, who decided to not renew Murdock’s contract, while merely fining Rice and suspending him for three games for his actions. Although the fine and suspension were known publicly, Rutgers never revealed why they had taken that action.
Pernetti, despite his apology, is still under fire for not terminating Rice before his indiscretions became public.