Before I came to the College, I was a freshman at Seton Hall University. I thoroughly enjoyed going to the Pirates’ men’s basketball games and getting to see schools like Syracuse, Louisville and Georgetown, along with NBA caliber players and historic coaching figures. Seton Hall’s biggest rival was Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights hired a new head coach that year. That man was Mike Rice, and as we all know now, Rice is out at Rutgers.
I’ll do a brief summary: Rice had just finished his third year at Rutgers. Just last week, video evidence came out from an ESPN Outside the Lines report that showed Rice physically abusing his players. He shoved them, grabbed them, dragged them, threw basketballs at them and even kicked one player. In addition, he berated them verbally with curses.
Being someone who has played basketball in high school, I wasn’t shocked by Rice’s language (although his choice of words were more foul than any other coach I’ve had). But seeing the physical actions he took on his players was extremely unacceptable. There is no place for that on the basketball court for college players, and it’s absolutely befuddling that Rice could have thought that strategy would have led to success for the team.
The first time I saw Rice coach in person, I hated him. He quickly became my most hated coach in college basketball, and I got to see whiners like Jim Boeheim, Jay Wright and Buzz Williams live in action. But Rice was different. The way he yelled, the way he acted and the evil facial expressions he gave off were horrible. He made it easy to be hated.
Now, after seeing what he’s done, I’m not really shocked at all. Seeing and knowing the kind of coach Rice has been for the past three years, it makes sense that he would be the kind of person to treat his players this way. And it’s downright disgraceful.
There were two things that were alarming to me about this situation. This first, of course, is the fact that Rutgers knew about Rice’s action in practice and did not take any action. At the first sight of something like this, a coach needs to be reprimanded. Any continued abuse, and he should be fired immediately. The administration at Rutgers really dropped the ball with this one.
The second thing is something much more upsetting, and is on a national level. The film of Rice’s actions was finally released, although Rutgers basically covered it up. Therefore, who’s to say that there aren’t other coaches who have done this? Rice isn’t the only coach who’s insane, and if it took this long to get out, how long until it’s revealed that more coaches have done this? This is something that should not be happening in college basketball, and the reality that it does happens is downright frightening.
All we can do now is wait and see if Rice is the first domino to fall and if other coaching coverups come to light. However, if I’m an athletic director of a college and I’m looking for a head coach, I’m going to look a lot harder now. With someone like Rice, this situation is really no surprise.