Mike Rice Fired

Nick Laham

To the surprise of no one, Mike Rice was relieved of his duties today.

If you had 10:06 am in the firing poll, you won.

At that time, Rutgers athletics announced that Mike Rice would be let go. Rice was fired after videos of his practice tapes made national news for his use of physical violence and offense language including gay slurs.

Mike Rice needed to be fired. In fact, he needed to be fired when he was suspended in December. That will, ultimately, be athletic director Tim Pernetti's biggest mistake. And mistakes are the key to this story. Everyone made them, and answers are still being unveiled.

This story starts with Rice's unethical and horrible behavior, which has been documented time and time again over the past 24 hours. It continues with Eric Murdock, the whistleblower. The timing of Murdock's release is what is odd. It appears Murdock was let go in the summer, and afterward Murdock went to Pernetti to complain about Rice's behavior in practices. According to the story, Pernetti investigated then, but did not act.

Rice kept his job. And fans seemed to be ecstatic, a young team was coming back, save for Gilvydas Biruta, who--rumor had it--left because he wanted to play wing forward. Rice was in the running for multiple high major players. It seemed only a matter of time before Rice and company succeeded.

But quickly, the recruiting dried up. Each and every highlighted player went elsewhere. Rice came up empty. Fans were confused.

Then December rolled around, and Pernetti saw the tape. Pernetti acted with a suspension and a fine. Rumors were if Rice did not get to the postseason, he would be fired. Later, that turned out not to be true.

Then the tapes were played by ESPN after the season ended. Biruta said he decided to transfer because of Rice's behavior and insults.. And now here we are.

Tim Pernetti fired Rice. President Robert Barchi is putting distance between himself and Pernetti saying he didn't see the Rice tape until yesterday. The media has risen up against Pernetti, who has apologized.

Mike Rice should have never practiced this way.

Eric Murdock should have reported it immediately. In 2010, not after he was relieved of his duties. It has opened him up for accusations of blackmail and extortion.

Tim Pernetti should have fired Rice in December. Instead, he tried to "rehabilitate" Rice. That quote will not fly, despite apologies, in the media.

Robert Barchi saw the tape in December. No, Barchi saw it yesterday.

Mistakes were made. Over and over again.

And now the search for a new coach begins again. Rutgers is a national embarrassment because of the basketball program.

It seems horribly and sadly fitting, that if it had to happen, that it would happen because of the basketball program.

Sources: Brendan Prunty, Steve Politi, Jerry Carino, Matt Hladik, Jeff Goodman, Greg Doyel, Jon Rothstein, NJ.com, NorthJersey.com, and espn.com

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