TRENTON – Speaker Sheila Oliver, in an interview on Sirius XM radio about the firing of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice, talked of the possibility of legislative hearings to get the full story of what happened.
Rutgers fired Rice earlier Wednesday after video surfaced of the coach using anti-gay slurs and throwing basketballs at players’ heads.
During the interview, Oliver talked of the many issues remaining to be addressed: Did any players come to the athletic director with complaints? Why did the AD believe a three-game suspension and $50,000 fine was appropriate last year? Who knew what when?
“The cover up is always worse than the crime itself,’’ she said in referencing the possibility of hearings. “I was disappointed in the initial reaction’’ to the videotape by Rutgers’ AD.
Oliver was clear that she placed primary blame with AD Tim Pernetti and not with the president, Robert Barchi, who has been on the job less than a year.
“I would want to know why he believed a three-game suspension and a $50,000 to $75,000 fine remanding the coach to anger management somehow obliterated or solved what we saw on videotape,’’ she said of Pernetti.
She said she was “shocked” when she saw the video.
Oliver said hearings into the matter at Rutgers, the state university that was part of a multimillion-dollar reorganization of higher education last year, could be held possibly in late May or June.
She wants hearings held so key Rutgers administrators could come forward and be questioned.