Mike Rice, now the former Rutgers University men's basketball coach, threw balls at his players, kicked them, grabbed them and berated them with expletives and gay slurs … and somehow managed to keep his job.
That is, until Wednesday after video of his shocking behavior was made public.
Then, and only then, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi fired Rice.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Barchi said, "Coach Rice's abusive language and actions are deeply offensive and egregiously violate the university's core values."
Apparently, the coach's actions weren't offensive or egregious enough last fall.
That's when Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, who resigned Friday, said he first viewed video of Rice's actions. But at the time, Pernetti and Barchi, after wasting money on an external investigation, opted not to fire Rice. Instead, they briefly suspended Rice for three games, penalized him $75,000 in fines and lost wages, and ordered him to take anger-management classes.
But after the practice videos of Rice went public, Barchi's views changed.
"I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public accountability," Barchi said in his statement.
Pernetti, meanwhile, said, "Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December, and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong."
Rice has also spoken, calling his actions "deeply regrettable" and admitting "I was wrong."
Wrong barely scratches the surface.
When did it become acceptable to physically and verbally abuse anyone, college basketball players or not?
When did it become acceptable for a coach, someone tasked with guiding his or her players, to use gay slurs in an attempt to motivate them?
It was acceptable at Rutgers for too long.
After viewing the video, the reaction around the country has largely been one of shock and disgust, yet Pernetti, after viewing that same footage in November, found that Rice should continue to serve as head coach?
How is that possible? If not for the release of the video, Rice, apparently, would still be on the job.
The decision by Barchi and Pernetti last fall to keep Rice on the public's payroll was outrageous and says much about their attitudes toward their students - and a twisted value system that put basketball and the protection of a highly paid coach above common decency.