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Men's Basketball: Ex-Colonial says Rice used gay slurs

<p>Former head coach Mike Rice faces new allegations of also using anti-gay slurs in his three-year tenure with the Colonials.</p>

Former head coach Mike Rice faces new allegations of also using anti-gay slurs in his three-year tenure with the Colonials.

A former Robert Morris men’s basketball player recently contacted by the University claims former Rutgers head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice’s use of homophobic slurs was not exclusive to his tenure with the Scarlet Knights.

The unnamed player said Rice — who coached at Robert Morris from 2007-2010 —shouted similar slurs during Colonials practices, according to The Newark Star-Ledger. He also said Rice once took part in a shoving contest with a former player in the locker room during halftime of a game.

The first player told Robert Morris Athletic Director Craig Coleman that Rice’s slurs were directed at him, and that he also heaved a basketball toward another player “once or twice,” according to the Star Ledger.

Coleman proceeded to speak to the player who Rice allegedly shoved, who admitted there was a heated exchange but insisted no physical contact took place.

Coleman concluded that any verbal or physical abuse by Rice was not of the same magnitude as what transpired at Rutgers.

“In terms of the homophobia, the throwing of basketballs, the physical altercations, if those happened I think it’s probably fair to conclude that they happened on a scale smaller than what happened at Rutgers based on the report we got,” he told The Associated Press yesterday.

Robert Morris officials could not acquire any practice film from Rice’s tenure.

Coleman said practices were open to the public and that although he saw Rice use profanity, he claimed none of it was “over the line.” He also said it was common for Rice to tape only the first few weeks of practice before disposing of it after the team’s first scrimmage.

The news comes after an internal investigation at Robert Morris disproved former Rutgers employee Eric Murdock’s allegations of players and coaches engaging in brawls during Rice’s tenure with the Colonials.

Coleman led the process, which included interviewing five current Colonials, seven former players, three coaches and two trainers.

“I think it is unanimous that the Murdock allegations did not occur,” Coleman told the Associated Press.

Among the former players contacted were four transfers, in order to eliminate bias. The only one who expressed improper conduct by Rice is the same player who cited specific instances of the former coach using anti-gay slurs.

While Coleman did not dismiss the one account of misconduct, he insists it still proves nothing that Murdock suggested.

“It does make it difficult to sort of synthesize all of this over here and then this one opinion over there,” Coleman told the Associated Press. “But even if you look at what he reported ... he clearly [said] it was not the stuff Mr. Murdock was alleging. No one indicated any ‘brawl’ between players and coaches.”

Coleman said he has also spoken to Rice personally, who called Murdock’s allegations “bogus” without going into further detail.

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