NEWARK, N.J. - Thirteen Rutgers University faculty members have demanded the resignation of the university president, and the New Jersey state assembly speaker has proposed public hearings into the abuse of players by former basketball coach Mike Rice.
The faculty members sent a letter to the Board of Trustees on Wednesday demanding the resignation of President Robert Barchi, alleging the school had hidden facts about Rice for months and fired him only after practice videos, showing Rice abusing players verbally and physically, were made public.
Rice was fired as the public university's basketball coach on Wednesday after ESPN broadcast videos showing him berating players with homophobic slurs over two years of practice sessions, grabbing and kicking them and throwing basketballs at their heads.
Athletic Director Tim Pernetti fined and suspended Rice in December when he was made aware of the video, later admitting after the videos came out that his discipline was not severe enough.
"Although President Barchi is now suggesting otherwise, he has known about Coach Rice's homophobic, misogynist and abusive behavior for several months now," the letter by the faculty members read. "Not only did he not fire Coach Rice, he in essence covered up the coach's actions by failing to tell the faculty and students about them."
State assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver called for public hearings Wednesday into how Rutgers handled the Rice incident.
No specific details on the hearings have been decided, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The gay rights organization Garden State Equality also requested an outside investigation, alleging Rutgers violated anti-bullying laws passed after student Tyler Clementi's suicide in 2010.
Rutgers' former director of player development, Eric Murdock, reported Rice's behavior to the university and said he was fired last year for complaining about it. Pernetti denied those allegations to ESPN and said Murdock's contract was not renewed due to insubordination.
According to Murdock, at least three players transferred out of the Rutgers program due to Rice's behavior.
Pernetti suspended Rice for three games without pay and fined him $50,000 in December after reviewing hours of tapes that Murdock's lawyer provided.
In other developments:
- Assistant coach Jimmy Martelli resigned his post. People around the Scarlet Knights basketball program referred to Martelli as "Baby Rice", according to ESPN. Martelli exhibited some of the same coaching tactics as Rice, including physical abuse and harsh language.
-- It was learned that Rice was entitled to a $100,000 retention bonus under his contract because he was not fired until after Rutgers' basketball season had ended, according to the university. Rutgers paid the coach $655,000 last year, the third year of a five-year contract.