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Rutgers owes Rice over $1 million
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 5, 2013 @ 8:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Keith Sargeant, USA TODAY Sports
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Once Robert L. Barchi watched the Mike Rice practice tape, the Rutgers University president said he saw “verbal abuse with offensive language,” “physical contact with ball throwing,” and “episodes of homophobic slurs.”
All of it added up to a clear-cut reason why Barchi said he told his athletics director, Tim Pernetti, to fire Rice immediately.
“I saw it at 10 o’clock at night (Tuesday),” Barchi said, “and the next morning the coach was fired.”
Without cause, Barchi said.
And because of that distinction, Rutgers appears to be on the hook to pay Rice more than $1 million.
“The coach was not fired for cause,” Barchi said. “The outside counsel says that could not be done. … I fired him. Not for cause. I just fired him.”
In his letter of resignation as Rutgers’ AD, Pernetti wrote his “first instincts when I saw the videotape” of “Rice’s behavior was to fire him immediately.”
“However,” he added, “Rutgers decided to follow a process involving university lawyers, human resources professionals, and outside counsel. Following review of the independent investigative report, the consensus was that university policy would not justify dismissal.”
Barchi said termination for cause is stated in Rice’s contract, which was obtained by New Jersey Press Media. It reads:
“Material breach of this contract (won-loss record shall not constitute material breach), neglect of duty, willful misconduct, act(s) of moral turpitude, conduct tending to bring shame or disgrace to the University as determined in good faith by the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, violation of University regulations, policies, procedures or directives not remedied after thirty (30) days written notice, … criminal conviction, or unapproved absence from duty, other than for a bona fide use of sick leave in accordance with University policy, without the consent of the director.”
The key phrase, according to a contract-law expert, is “moral turpitude.”
“The definition of cause in that agreement is very broad,” said Greg Tomczak, attorney for Ambrosio & Tomczak. “For example, outside of all the language about NCAA rules and policies, I don’t see any Rutgers policy saying you can use (gay) slurs, kick them in the (behind) and throw basketballs at the … [For more on Why Rutgers owes Mike Rice more than $1 million, click here.]
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