Tag Archive: Mike Rice

What If There Were No Video?

I attended today’s Town Hall Meeting at Rutgers in Newark, hosted by President Robert Barchi, who opened his remarks by reminding the audience that the purpose of the meeting was to focus on the Strategic Plan for moving Rutgers toward a world class future. But, the phalanx of reporters and television crews in attendance suggested that there might just be some lingering interest in the ongoing basketball scandal that came to light last week.

After Barchi opened with a grand vision of shared values, and ambitious leadership, an audience member asked about Barchi’s involvement in the basketball story, and Barchi retreated behind the defense of “I didn’t see the video til last week, and once I did, I took appropriate action.” That explanation, which has blunted some of the criticism, and at least to date may be what has saved his job, really bothered me. Because there’s almost never a video of bad behavior. And, what if there had been no video this time?

So, I went to the mic, and asked what seemed to me simple questions:

Assuming you did not see the video until last week, when I and the rest of America first saw it, were you at least aware last year that an employee of this University had on multiple occasions, over an extended period, physically assaulted multiple students while yelling misogynistic and homophobic slurs at them?

And if so, why didn’t you take the appropriate action then? And if not, who did? And either way, do you think in the face of the University’s inaction before the video became public, you still have the ability to lead this great institution into the world class future we’re discussing today?

His answers, to put it mildly, were less than world class. He didn’t admit or deny what he knew, he didn’t identify who knew what or when, and to the question of whether he still has the ability to lead – he deferred to the judgment of the Rutgers Board at whose pleasure he serves.

And, I come back to my office to learn that Governor Christie is proclaiming – without the benefit of any independent investigation – that Barchi did not commit a fireable offense, because he had not seen the video. I would say this to President Barchi, and to the Governor: leadership doesn’t always come with a videotape. Sometimes the facts are enough. And if Barchi, or others in leadership (after all, someone overruled Tim Pernetti’s recommendation to fire the Coach) had the facts described above – video or not – there was only one appropriate action to take. The one not taken until the video surfaced.

Circling the wagons at Rutgers

The harshest – most amusing, truest – thing I read today about Rutgers President Robert Barchi’s public meeting in Newark today is that it will give those on the Newark campus an equal opportunity to yell at Barchi like denizens of the New Brunswick campus have had all week. Who said that? If you know, tell us, so I can attribute.  

Jeff Gardner was at town hall, and apparently asked The Question, and did it sharply and cleanly. He’ll write about that in a bit. But meanwhile, Rutgers also posted a news release today (read it in full here), I had to read through 6 times to figure out what the hell it was saying. Here’s part (bolding’s mine). This is what struck me as downright obfuscatory:

“During a news conference held at Rutgers University on Friday, April 5, I was asked if members of the Rutgers Board of Governors had seen last fall the video containing excerpts of men’s basketball practices. At the time, I responded that at the December 14, 2012 meeting of the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics the committee received a report that action had been taken with the head basketball coach for inappropriate behavior. I also stated that I had reviewed the minutes of the committee meeting and had spoken with some of the members who were present at the December 14 meeting. Also at the news conference last Friday I said that, while the details are a little unclear, what is clear is that video was reviewed.

“In continuing our lesson learned efforts, I was able to confirm on Saturday, April 6 that the chair of the Board of Governors Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics reviewed the video in early December. The video was not seen by the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics or by any other member of the Board of Governors.”

Huh? Seems to me the question for the Board of Governors, but particularly for Barchi, is not “When did you see the video?” but “What did you know and when did you know it?” It’s not really about the video; it’s about being tuned in enough to know what’s happening not just for university restructuring and high-level meetings, but student life on your campuses. Throw up clouds of dust in front of that and  Barchi’s tenure should be questioned.  

SNL does the Rutgers basketball scandal

Saturday Night Live did the Rutgers basketball coaching scandal last night, gender-flipping Coach Mike Rice to guest host Melissa McCarthy as the menacing coach of a women’s college b-ball team, hurling toasters.

“… But playing college ball isn’t supposed to be easy, or fun, or rewarding, it’s supposed to make money for the university.”

Press Conference Video: Rutgers President Barchi and Governing Board Chair

Video via NBC Sports of today’s press conference with Rutgers University President Robert Barchi and Ralph Izzo, Chair of the Rutgers Board of Governors. Video includes prepared statements, followed by questions from the press. It’s rough stuff, as Barchi particularly struggles to contain fallout from an embarrassing and troubling moment in Rutgers’ history – one that pushed out of sports reporting and into national news – and faces accusations about his own role.

ICYMI: Tough Questions at Rutgers, Top 10 Takeaways from Rutgers Mike Rice Mess, Mike Rice Roundup.

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Tough Questions at Rutgers: President Barchi & Governing Board Chair Izzo Face the Press

Rutgers President Barchi – under heavy fire for allowing basketball coach Mike Rice to verbally and physically abuse student players for years, even as he guided RU into the Big 10 – finished a tense press conference a few minutes ago with Board of Governors chief Ralph Izzo. It was an obvious attempt to present an administration united front, and gain control of a wildfire story that reflects poorly on Rutgers, and likely an attempt to salvage Barchi’s job.

At one point, Barchi said the practices (at which the damning video was recorded) were open. “All these practices were public. If you look at the back of the video – there are people there. And nobody said anything.”

At that point, there was an interruption from the front row, unclear if it was a reporter: “Sir, that’s not true – An assistant coach said something and nobody did anything!”

First, a recap of the last 24 hours:

  • Whistleblower Eric Murdock files wrongful termination suit.

  • Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, forced to resign.

  • Assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli, called “Baby Rice” resigns.

  • Interim general counsel John Wolf, reported as resigned.

  • 2 major donors are very unhappy today.
  • Reports say Pernetti likely out as Rutgers AD

    UPDATE: Press conference 1pm: RU President Robert Barchi will come out of his cone of silence, with Ralph Izzo, who heads the Rutgers Board of Governors. Scorching piece in NYTimes and mounting campus pressures must have Barchi and his administration at DEFCON 1. – Rosi

    Multiple outlets are now reporting that Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti will likely no longer hold that position. From the Star Ledger:

    According to multiple people informed of the decision, Pernetti is the latest casualty from the release of a compilation of video clips showing men’s basketball coach Mike Rice yelling profane and abusive language at his players and throwing basketballs at their heads during practices.

    The people were not authorized to speak publicly because the school had not made an official announcement.

    It was not immediately clear whether Pernetti would be fired or resign.

    And it’s important to note, Pernetti and Rice wouldn’t be the the only dominos to fall:

    Wednesday night, John B. Wolf, the general counsel at Rutgers, abruptly resigned. It was his recommendation in December that Rice not be fired.

    In addition, assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli, twice shown shoving a player during one segment on the tape, also resigned Wednesday.

    Who knows where this story will go next, but reports say there will be a 2pm press conference held by the University President, which of course is subject to change.

    The Buck Stops … Where?

    promoted by Rosi

    Is there really any substantive difference between the actions of former Rutgers Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Rice and those of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie?

    Both have used offensive language – Rice against players in what he probably but erroneously figured was a way to motivate them, and Christie against female legislators like Senator Weinberg and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for political reasons. Of course, that’s just the top of the Christie iceberg.

    Rice was fired, and his superiors’ jobs are in jeopardy. Yet Christie is still here.

    I guess basketball coaches are held to a higher standard than governors.

    Mike Rice Roundup: Dodgeball, Sandusky PR & College Ave. news truck overkill

    ESPN inescapable on campus: On ESPN’s Outside the Lines show – where the Mike Rice story broke yesterday with video outtakes of his physical and verbal abuse of players, both Sen. Steve Sweeney and Garden State Equality’s Troy Stevenson were interviewed. I missed most of both – busy day here. But if you saw it, fill us in in comments, and if I can get the video, I’ll post that. Much of ESPN’s reporting today has been about the investigation of Rice’s coaching behavior, who conducted it and who was contacted for it. ESPN was on campus today, and invited Rutgers officials to join them on air, but every invitation was declined, with RU personnel preferring to communicate via written statement.

    Buono on campus, too: Here’s Ledger video.

    ICYMI; Blue Jersey’s Top 10 Takeaways from the Rice Mess, and Rice’s voice-breaking admission that he’s an embarrassment to his kids.

    Have you seen the size of us? Former RU player Austin Johnson says players never felt threatened by Rice: “We’re grown men. We’re 6-8, 250-some odd lbs.”

    Au Bon Pain blocked? Twitter’s alive with RU students complaining College Ave. is stuffed with news trucks and getting anywhere is hell. Lots o’ dodgeball jokes on Twitter, too.

    Title IX breach? Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi of Univ. of Minnesota, an advocate and researcher of women and girls in sport, wonders if Rutgers will be facing Title IX breach due to harrassment based on gender (via sexist & homphobic language).

    Top 10 Takeaways from the Rutgers Mike Rice Mess

    I didn’t go to Rutgers, I’m not a native New Jerseyan. Outside of dating a member of the offensive line at University of Michigan (go Blue), which made me a hot commodity on campus for about 5 minutes, I don’t follow college sports, or Rutgers b-ball. There’s an interesting convo going on in diary comments among people more conversant in Rutgers’ program. My interest is in the spike of this story. One day: video –> statewide scandal –> Rice’s exit. Boom.

    Top 10 Takeaways from the Rutgers Mike Rice Mess

    What are yours? This is an Open Thread.

    Mike Rice#1 “Cunt” v. “Faggot”: There’s considerable outrage at Coach Rice’s use of homophobic terms to abuse his players – “fucking faggots,” “fairies”. But where is the outrage at the misogynist terms Rice hurled: “cunts,” sissy bitches,” “pussies”?

    College sports can be rough-and-tumble on the court and on the field; a given. But when men use the language of homophobia and misogyny to control other men it is a very specific form of shaming. Translation: I cannot think of anything worse to call you than a woman, or gay man. Coaches yelling is going to continue – everywhere. But there’s some rethinking going on in some locker rooms today. And there should be.  

    Mike Rice, Motherfucker, Is Fired

    Via Star-Ledger, just now:

    Mike Rice is out at Rutgers.

    The university issued a release Wednesday morning saying that the third-year head coach has been relieved of his position at the men’s basketball coach.

    “I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said in a statement. “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.”