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Rutgers Bans Basketball Coach Rice for Three Games Over Language

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Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Rutgers University men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was suspended for three games without pay and fined $50,000 for what the school described as “inappropriate behavior and language.”

The penalty stemmed from a violation of the school’s athletic department policy rather than National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Rutgers said on its website.

It didn’t give details of the coach’s actions.

“Accountability is a vital element of the Rutgers athletics family and it is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner,” Tim Pernetti, the school’s athletic director, said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision for me to make but absolutely necessary to ensure what is best for our program.”

Associate head coach David Cox will lead the 7-2 team for its next three contests, all home games, against Alabama-Birmingham, Howard and Rider. Rice would return for the Scarlet Knights’ Big East Conference opener at Syracuse on Jan. 2.

“Since becoming a coach at the age of 21, I have taken great pride in not only helping young men learn the game of basketball but also in teaching them about character, respect and hard work,” Rice, 43, said in a statement. “To the extent that my conduct has ever been in contrast with those principles, I have failed my players -- and myself -- and I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the terms of my suspension.”

Rice is in his third season at Rutgers after three years as the coach of Robert Morris. The Scarlet Knights went 15-17 in 2010-11 and 14-18 last season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net 26542Z US <Equity> CN

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