Rutgers AD reviewing Mike Rice
OTL: Coach Misconduct At Rutgers
Rutgers is expected to make a firm decision Wednesday on the future of men's basketball coach Mike Rice, a source has told ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz.
Rice is under review by the school's athletic director after a videotape aired showing Rice shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.
The Newark Star-Ledger reported Wednesday that Rice had been called in to meet with athletic director Tim Pernetti. The report, which cited two unnamed sources close to Rice, did not offer specifics of the reason for the meeting.
The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN's "Outside the Lines," prompted scores of outraged social media comments, as well as sharp criticism from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James.
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"I think now that [the videotape] is out there -- we knew it was going to get out there," Pernetti said during a radio interview with WFAN in New York. "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."
The Associated Press is reporting that Pernetti is reconsidering his decision to suspend Rice instead of firing him.
Pernetti began investigating the incident as early as last summer. He suspended Rice for three games in December, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.
Pernetti revealed during the interview that university president Robert Barchi also viewed the tape this past fall and agreed with the punishment. But the "Outside the Lines" broadcast prompted an outcry, led by the governor himself.
"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."
Christie was not the only elected official to weigh in.
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.” -- Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti to WFAN regarding Mike Rice's future at the school
Assembly speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) called Rice's conduct "unacceptable not only at our state university, but in all circumstances. It is offensive and unbecoming of our state.
"Mike Rice should no longer be employed by Rutgers University. He must go. Meanwhile, the decision not to dismiss him last year needs a complete and thorough review."
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) called Rice's conduct indefensible and said he should have been fired in December, after the tape was given to Pernetti. Gusciora also said Pernetti's decision deserves a full review.
"If the university does not act, I will seek to add a provision to the state budget defunding Mr. Rice's salary," Gusciora said. "Taxpayers should not be paying for this behavior."
James weighed in with a tweet: "If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I'm still gone whoop on him afterwards! C'mon."
"It was despicable," Allen told ESPN.com. "Throwing the ball at them -- it made me want to fight [Rice]. It made me want to fight this guy. Because that was me -- wanting to learn, making mistakes.
"You're not doing it on purpose. You're trying to learn. And that's what coaches should do -- you teach. Yelling at kids and throwing the ball at them, there's no place to that."
Allen also said he would try to get Rice fired had the incidents occurred at UConn.
"I would do everything I could to make sure that coach got fired -- in any sport -- because there's no place for that," he said.
Rice, hired by Pernetti three years ago, is 44-51 at Rutgers, including 16-38 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 Big East.
SportsNation: Mike Rice reaction
Current and former professional athletes took to Twitter to react to video of Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing players in practice. Reaction »
Pernetti told WFAN that he understands why many are asking why Rice wasn't fired after the initial investigation. Pernetti said his decision to only suspend Rice was made in part because the coach was remorseful and admitted he made mistakes. Pernetti said Rice also worked hard to improve himself with counseling.
"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."
Rice was Pernetti's first major hire after getting the AD's job.
"In the end, I am not going to look back and say shoulda, woulda. All I can do is figure out going forward the decisions I can make to fix the problem for Rutgers," Pernetti told WFAN.
ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh and The Associated Press contributed to this report.