TRENTON – Senate Higher Education Chairwoman Sandra Bolden Cunningham, D-Hudson, issued the following statement today regarding Rutgers decision to fire men’s basketball coach Mike Rice:
“Above all, today’s actions beg the question: What took so long? If there was evidence of this abuse in November, it is absolutely shocking that it took until April for this incident to come to light and for the head coach to be terminated.
“As parents, we send our children off to college with the confidence that they will be nurtured and cultivated in a supportive environment. Being that many student-athletes look up to their coach as a mentor, it is especially horrific that Coach Rice would abuse his authority in such a destructive way. The recent events demonstrate that we must take a closer look to ensure that anti-bullying efforts are being practiced both on and off the field.
“Competition is a pervasive and necessary aspect of college athletics – as it should be, because all student-athletes want a chance to represent their university well on the national stage. But we need to draw a strict line between competitive spirit and abuse. No student pursuing higher education should be subjected to the kind of demeaning and demoralizing behavior exhibited by this coach.”