Rutgers Men’s Basketball Coach Fired Over Incendiary Video

What do Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Villanova’s Jay Wright, Georgetown’s John Thompson III and Rutger’s Mike Rice have in common? As of this morning, absolutely nothing as Rutgers University did the inevitable and fired their controversial men’s head basketball coach.

You see, of the roughly 300 elite Division I college basketball head coaching jobs in this country, only a select few can call the big, bad Big East Conference home. Mike Rice is heading home alright; some guys just don’t get it. When video footage of an irate Coach Rice nailing players in the head and groin with basketballs, kicking them in the rear-end and spewing homophobic epithets at practice went viral after airing on ESPNs “Outside the Lines”, the university’s board of directors was given little choice – especially with NJ Governor Chris Christie chiming in and the inevitable bandwagon riders beginning to form their own conga line of condemnation. In a post-Penn State world, academia cannot suffer through yet another drawn-out blemish. The whitehead had to be popped to let the healing begin. Again.

Rutgers is rife with athletic history. It’s the birthplace of college football – the first ever game being played there in 1869. But the RU landscape has changed. Don Imus and his “nappy headed” transgression brought unwanted attention to a stellar women’s basketball program, still headed by the elegant, classy Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer. They rose above. The recent sad and tragic tale of Tyler Clementi. They rose above. But athletics, power and money are strange bedfellows. Athletic Director Tim Pernetti has put his university on the cusp of a brand new era by joining the Big Ten Conference but with that pressure comes expectation. Was Rice’s three game suspension earlier this season enough? Apparently not.

Pitino, Wright and JTIII aren’t perfect, but they know where the line is. College sports is big business, so why can’t we take care of our student athletes instead of continuing to carelessly take? Mike Rice isn’t a horrible guy, but he crossed it. No going back if RU wants to rise above. Again.

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