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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rutgers' Mike Rice suspended three games, won't coach against Rider

When Rider travels to Rutgers on Dec. 28 for a non-conference contest, Scarlet Knights coach Mike Rice won’t be on the sideline.

Rice was suspended three games without pay and fined $50,000 for a violation of athletic department policy, according to a statement released by the school. The suspension does not violate any NCAA rules and is a result of inappropriate behavior and language.

“Accountability is a vital element of the Rutgers Athletics family and it is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner,” athletic director Tim Pernetti said. “This was not an easy decision for me to make but absolutely necessary to ensure what is best for our program.”

Rice will miss non-league games against UAB, Howard and Rider. He will return to the bench for the Big East opener at Syracuse.

David Cox will serve as the team’s interim coach.

Pernetti said on a conference call that he did not consider firing Rice, but the coach has been removed from the program for the length of his suspension. He will not be able to run practice or recruit.

Rice issued a lengthy apology in the school’s statement.

“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,” Rice said. “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 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.”

The Scarlet Knights are 6-2.

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