Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice is out for the next three games following a suspension issued by athletic director Tim Pernetti for a violation of athletic department policy.
The punishment, which includes a $50,000 fine, comes as a result of inappropriate behavior and language. There are no NCAA violations associated with the decision.
“I was made aware of some things within the last couple of weeks,” Pernetti said. “We commenced a thorough, lengthy and fair investigation and this was the result of that investigation. There was obviously some things that are not to the Rutgers standard that we evaluated and decided upon.”
The suspension, Pernetti said, is a complete removal from the program from now until after the Dec. 28 game against Rider. Rice will not be allowed to run practices, represent Rutgers or recruit on the program’s behalf during the suspension.
“Mike will not be permitted to do anything,” Pernetti said. “He’ll be removed from the program. He won’t be able to be active in his role as head basketball coach inside or outside the university. The suspension for this period of time and these games is a complete removal from the program.”
Assistant David Cox will step in as interim head coach.
Firing Rice was never a consideration, Pernetti said.
“I am committed to Mike,” Pernetti said. “While this is a difficult situation, and while it’s certainly negative, there’s a lot of positives going on the program and a lot of improvements. … Whether it’s the team and Mike’s involvement in charities and graduation rates, the 3.0 GPA, there’s a lot of good things going on in this program.”
Pernetti and Rice have spoken in the past regarding behavior, he said. He mentioned specifically the ejection against Louisville last season.
The infractions that led to the suspension, however, stemmed from Rice’s behavior at practices with his team.
Rice is in his third year with the program and has an overall 35-37 record with the program, including an 11-25 record in the Big East.
“Since becoming a coach at the age of 21, I have taken great pride in not only helping young men learn the game of basketball but also in teaching them about character, respect and hard work,” said Rice in a statement released by Rutgers. “To the extent that my conduct has ever been in contrast with those principles, I have failed my players – and myself – and I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the terms of my suspension. I will learn from my mistakes and I will become a better coach, teacher and role model.
“I sincerely apologize to our players, both past and present; to our incredible assistant coaches and staff; to President [Robert] Barchi, the Board of Governors and Director of Athletics Tim Pernetti for their belief in me; to the University faculty, staff and student body who represent the greatness of RU and to our Scarlet Knight fans who provide so much support to our teams. My commitment to becoming a better man and coach is only matched by my passion to make Rutgers basketball a great source of pride for the community.”
Rice will be back Jan. 2 for the start of Big East play.