Player abuse costs Rutgers coach his job

Mike Rice

Credit: Getty Images

Rutgers basketball head coach Mike Rice shouts instructions to his team in a game against Notre Dame during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

DALLAS — Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice has put that school in the spotlight — for all the wrong reasons.

"All you had to do was see the video," said New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney. "What was necessary except termination?"

Rice was fired Wednesday morning after a video, released one day earlier, showed Rice at practice firing basketballs at his players.

He is also seen grabbing players, yelling obscenities, and using homophobic slurs.

"I can't say anything right now, except I’m sorry," a contrite Rice told reporters on Wednesday. "There will never be a time where I'm going to use any of that as an excuse."

Eileen Drusjack is the vice president of the Rutgers Alumni Club of Dallas Fort Worth. As an elementary school teacher in Garland, she was upset by what she saw.

"It's a double negative for me," Drusjack said. "Being in public education, people often hear of the negative things that happen, which is — of course — why you are talking to me and you don't hear the good things going on campus. Being someone who has represented the university at college fairs to families, it makes it that much more difficult."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he, too, was appalled by the video.

"The way these young men were treated by the head coach was completely unacceptable and violates the trust those parents put in Rutgers University," Christie said. "All of the student athletes entrusted to our care deserve much better."

Rutgers is the same school that vowed to crack down on bullying in 2010 when a gay student committed suicide after being tormented by his roommate. Rice was hired that same year.

"Right now, there is no explanation for what's on that film because there is no excuse for it," Rice said. "I was wrong. I want to tell everyone who believed in me that I’m deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I have caused them."

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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