posted 04.25.2013 at 6.02 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Players Rally in Support of Suspended Rutgers Coach Brecht

Since Rutgers announced last Friday via press release that it was suspending men's lacrosse Brian Brecht without pay pending an investigation into alleged "verbal abuse," there has been a groundswell of support thrown behind the coach, and not the university.

According to the Asbury Park Press (N.J.), a group of Rutgers players and their parents met with university president Robert Barchi for more than an hour this week and presented him with a petition with close to 1,000 names in an effort to get Brecht reinstated, the paper reported, citing sources.

An online petition here has more than 1,000 signatures.

"My son is an RU player. I support Coach Brecht without reservation," reads a statement signed under the name Patricia Hollingsworth, listed on the Rutgers' website as mother of freshman attackman Ryan Hollingsworth.

"I wouldn't want to play for anyone else," reads a comment under the name Andrew Parrilla, a Rutgers junior defenseman. "And I support coach 100%."

The meeting came three days after Rutgers played without Brecht in a 16-7 loss to Duke last Saturday night. After that game, a Scarlet Knight player quoted in an Associated Press story didn't sound thrilled by the decision to suspend Brecht.

"It's been pretty emotional," junior defenseman Nicholas Contino said. "Some things are out of our control."

The suspension has made national news, if only because Rutgers is weeks removed from an embarrassing situation involving former men's basketball coach Mike Rice. Rice was fired after video of him shouting obscenities and hitting and kicking basketballs at players during practice was made public. Athletic director Tim Pernetti also resigned two days after Rice was fired.

In the aftermath, Rutgers said it would review the practices of every sport. And last Friday, Barchi announced that Brecht was suspended, pending investigation without revealing details.

"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," Barchi said in a press release.

Rutgers, losers of its last 11 games, is 2-12 and closes out its season at home in New Jersey against Georgetown in a Big East game at 7 p.m. Saturday.

It's unclear if Brecht, the second-year head man, will be on the sideline. Rutgers assistant Byron Collins, a former head coach at Division III Stevens, led the Scarlet Knights last game in Brecht's absence.

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