MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Robert Morris University has released its findings on an internal investigation into former Colonials’ head basketball coach, Mike Rice.
The investigation was prompted by allegations of alleged “coaches-versus-player brawls” during Rice’s time at RMU by the former director of player development at Rutgers University, Eric Murdock.
According to a news release from RMU on the results of the internal investigation, a former player said in an interview with school officials that Rice “directed homophobic slurs to him and ‘once or twice’ threw a basketball in the direction of a player.”
RMU Athletic Director Craig Coleman and his senior staff conducted the investigation, which included interviews, testimonials and a review of comments documented in news reports and on social media.
In an interview with 93-7 The Fan, Colman said, “regardless of the outcome of the investigation… our job is to look inwardly and say ‘what can we learn from what happened [at Rutgers], and how can we make this a better place?’”
The university reports that they conducted 17 interviews; five with current RMU players who played under Rice, seven former players, three current and former coaching staff members and two training staff members.
Listen to The Fan’s interview with RMU Athletic Director Craig Colman:
According to the university, “none of these interviews and testimonials revealed evidence of the ‘coaches-versus-player brawls.’”
Also, RMU says all except for the one interview “revealed no evidence of physical altercations of any kind between coaches and players… nor that players were subjected to the physical and verbal abuses shown in the Rutgers video.”
The former player, who left the university during Rice’s tenure as coach, also told the university in addition to the alleged slurs, he once witnessed Rice and a player shoving each other in the locker room during halftime of a game.
However, RMU reports that that player denied the alleged shoving match.
Coleman also talks to NewsRadio 1020 KDKA:
Rice’s recent firing from Rutgers made national headlines after video showed him physically and verbally assaulting players.
Over the last week, Rice, his top assistant and the athletic director were all removed from their jobs at Rutgers.
In the news release from the Robert Morris University, Coleman says:
“We conducted our investigation because accusations were made and questions were raised about the way our players were treated under Coach Rice. This may be as close as we can get to the truth of what was experienced here five years ago. Despite a vast majority of evidence refuting these suspicions, we feel duty-bound to report fully on what we have learned.
“We are distressed to hear about even one account of inappropriate behavior towards any of our players. Whether corroborated or not, we must use this as an opportunity to reaffirm that RMU does not — and will not — tolerate abusive behavior. We will continue to do all that is possible to ensure that players and coaches act and are treated with mutual respect going forward.”