Mike Rice

Report: ESPN to air video of Mike Rice throwing balls at his players’ heads

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Back in December, Mike Rice was suspended for three games and fined $50,000 by Rutgers for what the Athletic Department termed a violation of policy.

At that time, reports surfaced that Rice was being punished for his behavior during practices. His use of profanity and abusive language was a problem, but the real red flag was that Rice reportedly was caught on camera throwing basketballs at the heads of his players.

Rice returned from his suspension, but his troubles may not be over: the Newark Star-Ledger is reporting that a copy of the practice video has been leaked to ESPN and that the network will be airing it on Sunday on Outside The Lines.

From Brendan Prunty:

The Star-Ledger has learned that ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” program plans to air the tape as part of a tentatively-scheduled segment this Sunday.

Three individuals with direct knowledge of the tape and its exact contents — profane and abusive language and throwing basketballs at players’ heads — confirmed the network’s plans to broadcast it this weekend, in between the Final Four and the NCAA’s national championship game.

It will be interesting to see the reaction when the contents of this tape is aired. Bullying and abuse from coaches is not something that is taken lightly. It cost Billy Gillispie his job back in September. Depending on how bad the video is, I wonder if this could end up costing Rice his job as well. Coaching transgressions can be looked over when a team is winning. Mike Rice is 44-51 in three years at Rutgers, and 17-39 in Big East play. He has two years left on his contract, the second of which will but the first season for the Scarlet Knights in the Big Ten.

Is it worth it to keep him around with this kind of news going public?

It’s also interesting to know how the tapes were leaked. Again, from the Star-Ledger:

All of it stems from tapes brought to the attention of Rutgers and now ESPN, by former Scarlet Knights director of player development, Eric Murdock — according to one of the individuals.

Murdock, who’s contract was not renewed after the 2011-12 season, promised to release the tapes of Rice’s treatment of players if the university did not compensate him. When reached in December, Murdock did not provide further details citing that “there are some legal things going on,” in regards to himself and Rutgers. Murdock has reportedly threatened a lawsuit for unlawful termination, but a search of public records showed no such lawsuit has currently been filed.

What a mess.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Nigel Hayes’ comment on basketball brands hits on greater point

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes (10) drives on Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Madison, Wis. Hayes had a team-high 21 points in Wisconsin's 79-68 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
AP Photo/Andy Manis
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Much is made about the ball when it comes to how the sport of basketball is played and rightfully so, as the ball is the most important piece of equipment. Different brands have different characteristics, and with college basketball programs being able to pick the ball they use for home games there are adjustments to be made during the season.

Wisconsin will play at No. 2 Maryland Saturday, meaning that in the days leading up to the game the Badgers needed to get used to the Under Armour basketball. The brand became a conversation point in the aftermath of Maryland’s win over No. 4 Iowa last month, with the Hawkeyes (while not blaming the ball for their loss) made note of the differences between the Under Armour ball and the Nike ball they use for their home games.

Thursday Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes offered up his observations on the basketball while also pointing out (albeit sarcastically) the goal of intercollegiate athletics.

“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.

“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”

Hayes makes a good point here, and in regards to the NBA all hell would break loose under similar circumstances (remember the leather vs. microfiber composite controversy in 2006?). If these games are solely about fun and the college experience, wouldn’t having one ball used by all schools better fit that mission? This isn’t the biggest of deals when it comes to “amateur” athletics, as different basketball brands have been used for years.

But Hayes was able to take this situation and work it into the discussion of the goals of intercollegiate athletics. Is it about the experience? Or does the ability to profit, be it through a minor move such as using a particular ball or the more impactful step of moving from one conference to another, take precedence? Given the shifts that have occurred in college sports in recent years, it’s quite apparent that the search for additional revenue streams has won out.

Hayes did note that neither he nor his teammates would make excuses, saying that the team would simple “have to get used to” the unfamiliar basketball according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In the end, this was a good use of sarcasm by Hayes to make a greater point about the collegiate athletics machine he and his teammates are but minor parts of.

Marquette fan sends Providence money for missed free throw

Providence's Kris Dunn reacts to his shot during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Villanova, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
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It goes without saying that sports can inspire some interesting promises, from players and coaches guaranteeing victory to fans making statements that hinge on the outcome of a particular game or play (see: tattoos celebrating a team’s triumphs before they’ve even won the game in question). For one Marquette fan, the need for Providence’s Kris Dunn to miss a free throw during Wednesday night’s game (which Marquette won in overtime) inspired him to make a promise that he intended to keep.

Jamey Schilling took the approach of yelling that he’d pay Dunn $10 if he missed the free throw. Sure enough Dunn missed the shot, and Schilling made good on his promise. But with players themselves unable to receive such funds due to NCAA rules, Schilling sent the check to the Providence athletic department.

Schilling’s gesture did not go unnoticed by Marquette either, as the school sent him a gift card to use in the Marquette Spirit Shop.

H/T For The Win