The scandals just keep piling up in college athletics. The cover-up is always worse than the crime, a lesson the entire country should have learned after Richard Nixon’s Watergate Scandal.
The Penn State Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal from 2011 and now Rutgers’ basketball coach Mike Rice abusing players during practice are both prime examples of failed/failing cover-ups. It took an ESPN Outside the Lines video in order for Rutgers to finally act. It was clear Rutgers knew what was going on with Rice. In December of last year, Rutgers suspended Rice for three games and fined him $50,000 dollars for throwing basketballs at players heads during practice.
Former Rutgers Director of Player Development Eric Murdock, who was fired last Summer, came out and said in December, “There is some concern for these players, that’s the biggest thing, as far as how they’re being treated. Eventually a lot of stuff will come to light and it’s not going to shed a good light on Rutgers University.”
Oh did it ever come to light. Rice should have been fired in December, not suspended for a few games and fined. If Rutgers had acted when they were supposed to, this situation wouldn’t even be comparable to the one they will be facing.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi and Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, much like former Penn State President Graham Spanier and former Athletic Director Tim Curley, are very likely to be forced out of their positions. Faculty have signed a petition calling for Barchi to step down, as well as Pernetti.
Rutgers alum Glenn Articolo had a telling comment about Rice. “If the roles were reversed and this was a professor and not a coach and this was a student in the classroom as opposed to a collegiate player this would be completely different. You wouldn’t say, `This was a first offense. There’s not a single employee at Rutgers University from the president to the janitor who wouldn’t be dismissed immediately. It seems there’s a double standard when it comes to the basketball coach or the football coach,” he said.
Articolo is absolutely right. If a professor was causing physical harm to students, they’re fired before they blink again. These schools are so concerned about losing money that they fail to do the correct responsible act.
Jerry Sandsuky should have been fired in 1998, and Mike Rice should have been dismissed in December. Both didn’t happen and the universities are paying a much steeper price as a result. Hopefully the days of covering up these acts are over, but then again, the country learned their lesson in 1973.