It started with public outrage over video showing coach Mike Rice chucking balls at his players, kicking them and showering them with profanity and homophobic slurs. Next was the anger that athletic director Tim Pernetti had seen the video yet originally only suspended Rice for three games in December. And now comes news that even the whistleblower may have his hands dirty too.
The FBI is investigating whether former Rutgers director of basketball operations Eric Murdock tried to extort the university, the New York Times reported. In December, Murdock's lawyer reportedly sent a letter to Rutgers officials two weeks after Rice's initial suspension demanding $950,000, a sum that the university chose not to pay.
When he did not receive any money, Murdock eventually shared dozens of hours of video of Rice's practices with ESPN's "Outside the Lines" and voiced his concerns over the abusive tactics of his former boss. The video has since resulted in the firing of Rice and Pernetti amid nationwide public outcry.
Murdock's apparent feud with Rutgers began after the 2012 season when the school chose not to renew his contract. The former Providence star has filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against Rutgers claiming he was let go because of his concerns with Rice's abusive tactics, but the school denies that charge.
Regardless of who wins that case, nobody involved will emerge from this scandal with an unsullied reputation.
Rice's career as a college coach may be over because no athletic director can take a chance on him after this. Pernetti's poor judgment has cost him his job and undone much of the good he did during his tenure at Rutgers. And now even the man who bravely came forward to voice his disapproval with Rice's pattern of abuse now appears to have had an ulterior motive for doing so.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Eric Murdock
- Tim Pernetti