By now, most have surely seen the video of former Rutgers’ Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Rice and how he would conduct his practices. Rice fired the ball at his players, pushed and shoved them, and yelled homophobic slurs at them.
The Outlook staff is disgusted by what happened. This type of behavior is shocking, disgraceful, inappropriate, ridiculous and has no place in college athletics.
We can’t believe that Rutgers didn’t fire Rice when the tapes were reviewed in December. The school knew that when this story came out it would reflect poorly on them. So all they did was give Rice a $50,000 fine and a three game suspension, without any explanation. In this day and age, the truth always comes out. Schools have to stop trying to sweep these things under the rug and hope they will go away.
Money has to be the explanation for the Rutgers administration refusing to take bigger steps. Winning and revenue appears to have taken precedence over sportsmanship and human dignity. These are student athletes, not professionals.
While yes, they are on scholarship and were some of the best basketball players in the country in high school, they are still students. College is a time to learn and grow, and that means in the classroom and on the basketball court. The players aren’t going to be able to learn and grow when they are terrified that their instructor is going to hit them again.
We can understand why the basketball players didn’t report what was going on. They are going to college for free, on scholarships, to play basketball. They don’t want to speak out against the man who recruited them, and possibly lose their scholarship.
Some editors, however, would not have remained silent. After a few incidences, it would have been time to respond. Whether that means going to administrators for help, informing the press to get the story out there, or defending one’s self, silence would not have been an option.
What we know now may only be the tip of the iceberg. Each day this scandal continues growing. With two coaches and an athletic director already out the door, Rutgers needs to worry about whether or not donors will attach their names to this type of program. Donors who have given more than one million dollars to the school did not want to see the Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti, go. When the school doesn’t give consideration to these prominent donors, who’s to know how long they will continue to give?
We would feel more sympathetic for the players if this took place at MU. These are students who are playing a sport that they love, and have been playing for all of their lives. They shouldn’t be treated like this at the collegiate level. We eat with them in the dining halls, work out with them in the gym, and learn with them in the classroom. If they were being treated like this, we would want to help them.
The NCAA should be taking action against Rice. One editor suggests that a two-year suspension from college basketball should be in order. He needs time away from the game, away from college students, to figure out his anger problems and find new ways to get his philosophies across to the players.
College athletes need to focus on families, the fans and most importantly, other student athletes. Money and other outside influences can fog an institutues moral judgement, as shown in Rutgers case. Things need to change and protocols need to be put in place to protect all those involved in college athletics.