Former student sues college for damages following dismissal of abusive basketball coach

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A former student of a US university which sacked its athletic director and basketball coach when tapes emerged of abusive and violent behaviour towards students, is suing the college for damages.

Derrick Randall is claiming in the federal lawsuit that he has been caused physical, emotional and psychological harm by the homophobic and physical abuse he was subjected to.

The lawsuit filed this week says that after he transferred to Pittsburgh, the student had to begin seeing a psychiatrist because of the abuse by former basketball coach Mike Rice.

Rice was suspended for three games, was fined $50,000 (£33,000), and was made to undergo management classes in December.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said Rice would remain in his job, however they were both fired after an investigation following the emergence of the videos.

Assistant coach Jimmy Martelli also resigned.

The video, passed on to Pernetti by Eric Murdock, former director of player development, showed Rice swearing and throwing basketballs at players’ heads, shoving, kicking and grabbing them on the basketball court.

The tape also shows him calling a player a “f*cking fairy”, and a “ f*cking faggot”, whilst aggressively reprimanding players.

Upon the dismissal of Rice, Pernetti said in a statement: ”I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice. Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

Since being dismissed, Rice has made an emotional for his actions. He said: ”I can’t say anything right now, except I’m sorry. … I’ve let everybody down.”

Some have also called on university president Robert Barchi, to step down. Thirteen faculty members demanded that the president step down over the “inexcusable handling” of the Mike Rice case, which the university was aware of months before it came to light in the media.

Barchi, who took up his post in September 2012, said he had agreed with the decision to suspend Rice originally, but that once he saw the video this week, he decided it was only appropriate to sack him.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James were among those who condemned the coach’s conduct.