The college basketball world was rocked Wednesday when Rutgers fired men's basketball coach Mike Rice, one day after video footage surfaced showing him abusing players at practice. "Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice," a statement issued by the school read. Rice has faced a tidal wave of negative comments from the general public all the way to New Jersey governor Chris Christie and NBA stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, after ESPN aired a video Tuesday in which Rice was seen physically and verbally abusing players in multiple practices. Rice's firing is the culmination of a number of incidents, including being suspended for three games and fined $50,000 last December when a video surfaced of him throwing a basketball at a player's head, used derogatory slurs and allegedly kicking a player. Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti, who hired Rice, said he spent hundreds of hours talking to people around the program to determine an appropriate course of action. He said the length of the Dec. 13 suspension and the fine -- which were approved by school president Robert Barchi -- was appropriate because it was Rice's first offense. Eric Murdock, a former director of basketball development at Rutgers, complained to Pernetti about Rice's actions. His contract was not renewed last year. Murdock said three players had since transferred because of the abuse, which was documented on videos from 2010-12. Murdock, 44, who is a former Rutgers player, intends to sue the school for wrongful termination, according to his attorney, Raj Gadhok. ---Louisville University's Kevin Ware has received permission to head to Atlanta for Saturday's national semifinal against Wichita State. Ware fractured his tibia in the first half of Sunday's 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional, as millions watched on television. He had surgery and is expected to miss a year. He broke his leg when he landed awkwardly after trying to block a shot. Many of his teammates cried after seeing the severity of the injury. The sophomore was released from an Indianapolis hospital on Tuesday. He said he'll help cut down the net should Louisville win the national championship. "As long as I don't fall I'm fine," he told ESPN. Louisville coach Rick Pitino told ESPN that he was impressed with Ware's composure immediately after his injury, when Ware said, "Just win coach, just win." "I don't know too many people with their bone sticking out of their leg would have thought about the team like that," Pitino said. "That speaks just so highly of you as a person." ---Rick Pitino's son, Richard, is expected to be named the next head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, according to multiple reports. Pitino would replace Tubby Smith, who was fired last week after a loss to Florida in the round of 32. He replaced Isiah Thomas at FIU and led the Golden Panthers to an 18-14 overall record, including 11-9 in the Sun Belt. They upset Middle Tennessee State in the conference tournament semifinals, but lost the automatic NCAA berth to Western Kentucky.
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- Eric Murdock