Rutgers University's head basketball coach was fired early Wednesday after ESPN aired a video of practice where Mike Rice is seen throwing balls at players, pulling them around the court and using derogatory language.
As shocking as the video is, the idea of violence and language in athletics is nothing new. In fact, in the Bob Knight era of coaching, shouting insults and grabbing jersey's was seen as acceptable behavior by many basketball fans.
Jim Trett, the former Washington High School Men's Basketball coach with more than 30 years of coaching experience, talks about the changes coaches have had to make over the last decades.
"Back in the day, when I was a younger kid, there was a little more physical aspect to education than today...coaches grabbing kids, that was not so uncommon," said Trett.
Thirty years ago, many coaches were seen grabbing players and yelling obscenities.
"There's always been language, ever since the beginning of time there's been language in coaching," said Trett.
Coach Trett used some of those coaching tactics throughout his career.
"I was a very active coach, some things people would say negative of me as far as being a screamer, hollered, jumped around, very active, that was me all the way," said Trett.
But even 30 years ago, Trett says no coach took it as far as Rice.
"You can't take it to the length that he did...those players shouldn't have to go through that," said Trett.
Most coaches today know the public's expectations are far stricter than in the past.
"The climate has changed though, I mean you can't do anything like this, you can't throw, you can't touch...the most you can do is maybe touch an arm, but you can't grab, you certainly can't throw the ball," said Skyforce Head Coach Joel Abelson.
"It certainly has changed a little bit and you have to change with the times, that's all there is to it," said Trett.
Despite backing off physical and verbal aggression, Trett says coaches are still tough on players.
"It's really important that you give the team and the players what they need to be successful, not what they want," said Trett.
For many players, a coach's strong motivation makes a big difference.
"My first coach was a tough guy, he demanded a lot, he saw the potential that I didn't see in myself and great coaches bring that out of you," said Skyforce player Demetris Nichols.
"Those that come out of demanding programs and those that come out of schools that demand a lot in the classroom are having more success when they get onto the next level," said Trett.
Coach Trett and these Skyforce members say today there is a big difference between pushing a player to reach his full potential and crossing the line into abuse—a line they say Rice certainly crossed.
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