In wake of Mike Rice scandal, abuse needs to be more closely examined

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

Headlines all around the nation these past couple weeks have been buzzing about Rutgers University and their now infamous men’s basketball team. Videos surfaced earlier this month showing now former Head Coach Mike Rice physically abusing his players during several of their practices this season. He was then fired April 3, the day after they were released.

Good riddance. I’m glad he was fired. I hope nobody hires him to coach any team ever again. While it’s not acceptable for someone to ever abuse another person, Rice wasn’t just warned about his conduct once.

There have been issues with him earlier this season. In December, he was suspended three games and fined $50,000 for violating an “athletic          department policy.”

Someone who can’t learn from their first mistake doesn’t deserve another shot at redemption. Rather, Rice needs to be put in jail. Physical abuse is something that will never be taken lightly.

The former coach later apologized about his behavior. He even shed a few tears for the camera. It’s just too bad it took until his firing for him to realize throwing things at players and kicking players wasn’t allowed.

While I feel a little bad for the university, I feel even worse for the student athletes that are now being thrust into the media limelight. They had nothing to do with their former coach’s actions.

Instead, they deserve some compensation for having to deal with such abuse. Also, they deserve some explanation from the university as to why he wasn’t fired earlier.

That’s where Rutgers University is somewhat responsible. Why not fire him after his first violation? I would bet a good amount of money to say the “athletic department policy” he violated earlier this season was pretty similar to the way this one looks. It doesn’t matter what title the perpetrator holds. If they violate a rule like this, they need to be gone.

In reality, Rice should go to jail. Why is hitting his players during practice any different than someone coming up to another person and kicking them in the back on the street?

A coach never has an excuse to lay their hands on an athlete unless it’s to congratulate them. This isn’t boxing, this isn’t hockey; it’s basketball. The sport doesn’t have a part in the game where the coaches get to go onto the court and throw balls at their players.

I think going to jail will give Rice a better understanding of where he stands on the totem pole. Did he think because he was the head coach at a Division I school, his actions would be overlooked?

This is something that doesn’t seem to lie strictly in men’s basketball either. There have been a number of examples over the years of coaches taking their power for granted.

Penn State’s Joe Paterno and University of Southern California Head Baseball Coach Frank Cruz’s firings are a couple from this year alone.

But the one thing I hope will come from this situation is a risen sense of awareness towards physical abuse nationwide. It doesn’t just end with sports.

There are cases of domestic and child abuse every day. It’s not going away people, let’s do something        about it.