Rutgers said it would reconsider its decision to retain basketball coach Mike Rice after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing, and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.
The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN, prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James. The head of the New Jersey Assembly called for Rice to be fired.
Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video in November by a former employee. He suspended Rice for three games a month later, fined him $50,000, and ordered him to attend anger management classes.
In an interview with WFAN Radio on Tuesday, Pernetti said university president Robert Barchi also viewed the tape last fall and agreed with the punishment. But ESPN’s broadcast prompted an outcry, led by the governor.
‘‘Governor Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior,’’ spokesman Michael Drewniak said.
The Miami Heat’s James weighed in with a tweet: ‘‘If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon.’’
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said, ‘‘Mike Rice should no longer be employed by Rutgers University. He must go. Meanwhile, the decision not to dismiss him last year needs a complete and thorough review.’’
Rice, who was hired by Pernetti three years ago, is 44-51 at Rutgers, including 16-38 in the Big East, after going 73-31 in three seasons at Robert Morris. The Scarlet Knights went 15-16 this season and 5-13 in the Big East.
Rice, who was Pernetti’s first major hire after getting the AD’s job, had a reputation as being ‘‘a fiery guy with an edge’’ before coming to Rutgers and Pernetti said the two talked about it for five hours before he was hired.
‘‘He convinced me he understood his reputation, but he also understood where the line was,’’ Pernetti said. ‘‘I made clear to him if he crossed the line he would be held accountable. In this case he did, and we held him accountable for it.’’
That might not be enough in the wake of the video made by Eric Murdock, the former NBA player who was hired by Rice to be director of player development. The two had a falling out, and Pernetti said Murdock’s contract was not renewed. Murdock, who said he was fired, then compiled the video, splicing together the practice lowlights of Rice’s first three years as coach.
Ware out of hospital
Louisville’s Kevin Ware has taken what he said would be the hardest step in his recovery — the first one. The sophomore guard was back on the Cardinals’ campus after he had been released from an Indianapolis hospital, two days after millions watched him break his right leg on a horrifying play trying to block a shot. Ware had been at Methodist Hospital since sustaining the horrific injury Sunday during in the first half of Louisville’s 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional. He underwent surgery to repair compound fractures of the tibia in the leg and is expected to be out a year. Coach Rick Pitino said he is still working on a new backcourt rotation at Saturday’s national semifinal against Wichita State. Ware regularly replaced starters Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. Pitino is mulling shifting small forwards Wayne Blackshear and Luke Hancock to the backcourt in some defensive situations, and even junior walk-on Tim Henderson, usually a late-game substitute, could see expanded minutes.
Pac-12 backs Rush
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said that comments made by the conference’s coordinator of officials are ‘‘not a fireable offense’’ and have been ‘‘mischaracterized’’ as targeting only Arizona coach Sean Miller during internal meetings before the league tournament. Scott said that Ed Rush’s remarks were part of an overall ‘‘point of emphasis’’ to crack down on coach misconduct on the sideline. He said an investigation found Rush’s rant included an ‘‘inappropriate joke’’ offering a group of officials $5,000 for a trip to Cancun if they called a technical foul on Miller, but that every official interviewed confirmed ‘‘nobody thought they were getting a reward.’’ Officials whistled Miller for a technical foul during the semifinals for arguing a late double-dribble call against Wildcats guard Mark Lyons. Arizona lost the game, 66-64 . . . A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that Siena has hired Jimmy Patsos as its coach, replacing Mitch Buonaguro. Patsos went 145-135 in nine seasons at Loyola (Md.), including an 11-9 mark against Siena. Buonaguro went 35-59 in three seasons with the Saints . . . UNC Asheville announced that coach Eddie Biedenbach has resigned to take a job on UNC Wilmington’s staff . . . Missouri freshman guards Negus Webster-Chan and Dominique Bull are transferring, the school said. Bull, from Worcester, Mass., played in only nine games.