Rutgers Gives Mike Rice $475,000 To Go AwayS

Sometimes it pays to be an abusive anger-management candidate who gets a power trip from destroying young men. It sure did for Mike Rice when he was first hired by Rutgers, and it pays off again: Rice will receive nearly half a million dollars, as Rutgers avoids going to court.

It took the university long enough, but Rutgers finally fired Rice earlier this month, more than four months after becoming aware that he was physically and verbally abusive to his players, and viewing videotape of him doing exactly that. But according to Rice's contract, Rutgers was still on the hook for 75 percent of the remaining two years of his deal—a payout that would have amounted to $1.1 million. (That would have been reduced if he took an equal or better coaching job. Coaching preteen girls apparently does not qualify.)

At the time, university president Robert Barchi went out of his way to say Rice was not fired "for cause," a legal descriptor that meant he was entitled to his payout. But yesterday Barchi took a tougher stance:

"My personal position is the university was damaged by his actions," Barchi said at the hearing. "Frankly, I’ll have that discussion in court if I have to. ... I’m going to be pretty hard to budge."

That might've been the impetus Rice needed to get a deal done. Last night he and Rutgers agreed on $475,000, or about 43 percent of what he would have been owed. Barchi said a deal was "in the best interests of the university, and I am pleased this issue has been resolved."

Tim Pernetti and John Wolf, Rutgers's athletic director and lead counsel, also resigned earlier this month. Pernetti received a $1.2 million settlement, and Wolf $420,000.

Meanwhile, in totally, totally unrelated news: Rutgers announced the suspension of men's lacrosse head coach Brian Brecht as it investigates "allegations of verbal abuse."

[Star-Ledger]