Former Rutgers Basketball Player Sues University Claiming Abuse

December 10, 2013

Former Rutgers University basketball forward Derrick Randall claimed in a lawsuit he was physically and psychologically abused by former coach Michael Rice, who was fired this year over his treatment of players.

Randall’s lawsuit, filed Dec. 6 in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, claims he was “chronically and heinously targeted and abused” by Rice. Randall, a junior who now plays for the University of Pittsburgh, said he suffered “substantial damage to his emotional well-being and his basketball career.”

Rice was fired in April after ESPN aired video of him hurling basketballs at players and shouting obscenities and gay slurs. The scandal led to the resignation of Athletic Director Tim Pernetti. Rutgers, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is the flagship state school.

“The continuous abuse left Derrick in a constant and debilitating state of anxiety and fear,” lawyers for Randall wrote in the complaint. “He felt completely helpless under the authority of Coach Rice. He lost all confidence and, not surprisingly, did not and could not know how to deal with Coach Rice’s abuse.”

Jason Baum, a spokesman for the Rutgers athletic department, said yesterday the school doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Rice couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Pernetti, who also is a defendant, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The complaint alleges negligence; negligent hiring, training and supervision; breach of fiduciary duty; assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress by Rice, and violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The case is Randall v. Rutgers, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

With assistance from Mason Levinson in New York. Editors: Mary Romano, Stephen Farr

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