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Men's Basketball: Extortion case to be reviewed by FBI

<p>University President Robert L. Barchi said Friday the first time he saw the Mike Rice tapes was last Tuesday night.</p>

University President Robert L. Barchi said Friday the first time he saw the Mike Rice tapes was last Tuesday night.

The FBI is investigating whether former Director of Player Development for the Rutgers men’s basketball team Eric Murdock tried to extort money from the University, according to an Associated Press report.

The investigation is looking into whether Murdock made the video of then-head coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing his players to get money out of the school.

The source, who told the Associated Press about the investigation, spoke on anonymity because the FBI has not announced the investigation yet.

The University did not renew Murdock, who Rice hired in 2010, after his two seasons with the team.

Murdock and his lawyers filed a lawsuit against the University on Friday, claiming his contract was unlawfully terminated and held a press conference to discuss the lawsuit.

Murdock’s lawyers asked in December for $950,000 to settle employment issues in regards to the non-renewal of Murdock’s contract. Barry Kozyra, Murdock’s head attorney, told the University that if a settlement was not agreed upon by Jan. 4, Murdock would be prepared to take legal action against the University. Rutgers did not respond to Murdock’s request.

“This is a classic whistle blower case that’s been commenced by us on behalf of Mr. Murdock,” said Kozyra during Friday’s press conference. “It raises questions of the conduct at Rutgers University in respect to its basketball program in regards to publicity this week.”

Kozyra continued to defend Murdock’s reasons for filing the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit is about why this wasn’t discovered sooner,” Kozyra said, “and why Rutgers University did not uncover what was happening in its basketball practices that went on for an extended period of time.”

Murdock presented the video to ESPN on Tuesday, when it showed the clips of Rice on “Outside the Lines” with Bob Ley. Murdock appeared in a tape segment on the show stating Rice would change his behavior in the presence of Pernetti and that he was fired because he tried to bring to light the issues he had with Rice’s coaching style.

Barchi acknowledged Friday that if Murdock never produced the tapes, the fallout and subsequent firing of Rice would likely have never happened. Barchi stated he did not see the videos of the practices until Tuesday night.

In an investigative report conducted by an independent law firm hired by the University, it was found that although some of Rice’s coaching techniques were in question, he did not create a hostile work environment for his players and the rest of the coaching staff.

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