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College basketball roundup: Rutgers coach was suspended; Ware retuns to school

The SportsXchange

Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice was suspended for three games and fined last December when hours of video showed him verbally and physically abusing his players, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The footage aired for the first time on Outside The Lines, showing Rice throwing a basketball at a player's head, calling a player a homophobic slur and what appears to be kicking a player.

Eric Murdock, a former director of basketball development at Rutgers, complained to Pernetti about Rice's actions. His contract was not renewed last year.

"To witness that video and see your coach physically putting his hands on players, physically kicking players, firing balls at players at point-blank range, the verbal abuse, the belittling." Murdock said.

"Yeah, I was in total shock that this guy wasn't fired."

Murdock said three players had since transferred because of the abuse, which was documented on videos from 2010-12.

Tim Pernetti, the Rutgers athletics director, investigated incidents, which he said took hundreds of hours in interviews with people around the program. He said the length of the suspension and a $50,000 fine was appropriate on Dec.13 because it was Rice's first offense.

"Honestly, we've dealt with this issue," Pernetti said Tuesday. "When I became aware of this in November, within 24 hours we had the investigation underway. Now I became aware of it in a meeting. I took the DVD with me. I met with Mike later in the day.

"We started the investigation. Within that two-week period we made the determination on what we were going to do. I would tell you that all options were on the table at that time."

--Injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware returned to campus Tuesday afternoon after he was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Ware underwent surgery Sunday to repair a compound fracture in his right leg that shocked and saddened players and spectators during the first half of Louisville's 85-63 Midwest Regional victory over Duke on Sunday. The horrific injury occurred when Ware landed after a leaping attempt to block a shot.

When he arrived home Tuesday in Louisville carrying the regional championship trophy that coach Rick Pitino left in his hospital room, his first stop was the team's practice center.

--Reggie Theus will return to the college ranks as the new coach at Cal State-Northridge, according to reports.

A contract should be finalized within the next week, USA Today reported.

Cal State-Northridge fired Bobby Braswell on March 21 after 17 seasons as coach. His final team went 14-17 overall and 5-13 in the Big West Conference last season. The Matadors' last NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2009.

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