Rutgers players want assistant coach to take over

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Members of the Rutgers men’s basketball team say they didn’t feel threatened by their former coach’s behavior and they want an assistant coach to take over the program.

Several players spoke briefly with reporters Thursday before the university’s board of governors convened to discuss the team’s situation.

Coach Mike Rice was fired last week after a video was made public showing him pushing and kicking players and using gay slurs in practice. An assistant and two school administrators have resigned.

Kadeem Jack said that the players never felt threatened by Rice’s behavior.

He and other players called for Rice’s assistant David Cox to become head coach.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A Rutgers University lawyer resigned Thursday amid growing anger that he was still employed after approving a decision in December to suspend rather than fire basketball coach Mike Rice, even though he was aware of a video showing the coach hitting, kicking and taunting players.

Meanwhile, the school’s board of governors plans to discuss hiring an adviser to report on Rice’s behavior and how the university handled it.

The university announced last week that John Wolf, who had been serving in an interim basis as the university’s top in-house lawyer, had resigned from his leadership position. School officials at first would not clarify what that meant, but then this week acknowledged that he was remaining at Rutgers as a lower-level lawyer.

Some state lawmakers felt they’d been deceived and were calling for his resignation in the latest development in a scandal that broke last week when a video was made public showing Rice shoving and kicking players and using gay slurs as he yelled at them during practices.

Rice was suspended, fined and ordered to anger management counseling in December after school officials were first given the video by a former basketball program employee.

Since the footage became public, Rice was fired, an assistant coach resigned and so did Tim Pernetti, the school’s popular 42-year-old athletic director. Pernetti, who was named last month as one of five finalists for the Sports Business Journal’s athletic director of the year award, said in his letter of resignation that his first instinct last November was to fire Rice. But it’s not clear if he made that recommendation to anyone else.

Who knew about Rice’s behavior earlier and what they did about it has become the focus of fallout.

Also, lawmakers are planning hearings of their own to address some of the same questions.

Despite some calls for his job, Rutgers President Robert Barchi has received public support from Gov. Chris Christie and the chairman of the board of governors.

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