Fresh off the Mike Rice scandal and now with football player Mark Harrison possibly involved in a hotel-room-trashing scandal at the NFL Scouting Combine, the New Jersey university has suspended its men’s lacrosse coach, Brian Brecht, pending an investigation into allegations of verbal abuse.
The school did not give details on the allegations.
“While I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, let me reiterate that there is no place at Rutgers for words or actions that are inconsistent with the values of the university,” school president Robert Barchi said in a statement. "Our student athletes, as all members of the Rutgers community, should know that our university is committed to promoting an atmosphere of respect and dignity. As I stressed earlier, we will be looking closely at all intercollegiate athletics at Rutgers going forward. If we find problems, we will address them.”
Rutgers, under the direction of Barchi and interim athletic director Carl Kirschner, has been reviewing videos of practices in all sports since Rice was fired this month as men’s basketball coach after a video was made public that showed him kicking players, throwing balls at them and yelling anti-gay slurs.
The university also said Friday that it has formed a search committee for a new athletic director to replace Tim Pernetti. Pernetti, who hired Brecht, resigned amid the scandal.
The Rutgers lacrosse team competes in the Big East Conference and is struggling this season. The Scarlet Knights are 2-11 overall and 0-5 in the league. Brecht’s team has lost 10 consecutive games heading into Saturday’s home game vs. Duke.
Brecht, in his second season as coach at Rutgers, spent seven years as coach at Siena College and was a three-time conference coach of the year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He was hired by Pernetti on June 16, 2011, after posting 57 victories with the Saints in his final five years there.
Brecht will continue to be paid throughout the investigation. He is in the second year of a five-year contract and earns $130,000 in 2013.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.