New Jersey

Whistleblower sues Rutgers University in abusive coach case

Eric Murdock

Eric Murdock

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — A former Rutgers University employee who made public the video that led to the basketball coach’s dismissal and the athletic director’s resignation has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the university.

Eric Murdock filed the lawsuit Friday in state court, accusing the university of violating the state’s employee protection act and his contract and of retaliating against him for complaining about the mistreatment of players.

Eric Murdock

“Efforts to get Rutgers to address their problems were ignored for months,” Murdock said at a news conference. “Instead I was removed from my position. That is wrong and why I filed a lawsuit.”

Murdock said his lawyer wrote to the university about coach Mike Rice’s “unlawful conduct” in July and gave the university video in November showing Rice pushing players, throwing basketballs at them and berating them with invectives, including gay slurs.

“Despite having been in possession of such video footage, the university and its representatives inexplicably chose to ignore Defendant Rice’s unlawful conduct,” the lawsuit said.

The public airing of the videos this week led to Rice’s firing and the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti.

The school, Rice, Pernetti, university President Robert L. Barchi and former President Richard L. McCormick were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Rutgers officials declined to comment about the lawsuit. When asked about it at a news conference Friday to discuss Pernetti’s resignation, Barchi said, “It is an ongoing legal situation, and it is something that I simply cannot comment on.”

Murdock’s lawyer, Barry Kozyra, said the lawsuit raises questions about why Rutgers did not discover what was happening in practices sooner.

“If Mr. Murdock never stepped forward and lost his job would this still be going on?” Kozyra asked.

Murdock, who played in the NBA for nine seasons, was the director of player of development for the program. His contract wasn’t renewed in July.

© 2013, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This Story Filed Under