Rutgers on Thursday said it has suspended coach Mike Rice for three games without pay and fined him $50,000 for what it called "inappropriate behavior and language" that violated department policy.

"He won't be able to be active in his role as head basketball coach inside or outside the university," athletic director Tim Pernetti said in a statement. "The suspension for this period of time and these games is a complete removal from the program."

The school pointed out that the action was not over possible NCAA violations, but declined to say why it chose to fine and suspend the coach - or elaborate on the inappropriate behavior and language it cited.

Rice, 43, in his third season at Rutgers, apologized to his team.

"I will learn from my mistakes and I will become a better coach, teacher, and role model," Rice said in a statement released by the school.

Rice will return to coaching Dec. 29, the school said. Associate head coach David Cox will serve as the team's interim coach.

Cox said Rice will learn from his mistakes. Cox said he didn't see a specific incident that would have gotten Rice into trouble, but added that the coach is intense and passionate, along the lines of former Temple coach John Chaney or former Georgetown coach John Thompson.

"I think times have changed," Cox said. "We probably as coaches, as adults, have to come a little bit further to meet some of these young men that we're working with in this day and age."

The Scarlet Knights (6-2) have not made the NCAA tournament since 1991.

Creighton guard ailing

Creighton guard Josh Jones will undergo a procedure to address a heart problem that caused him to pass out before the Dec. 6 game against Nebraska.

Coach Greg McDermott said Jones had an atrial flutter. Doctors will perform an ablation on his heart Tuesday to restore a normal heart rhythm.

Alabama guard sidelined

Alabama guard Andrew Steele will be sidelined four to six weeks after having surgery Thursday to repair a sports hernia. The senior has averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds a game.