The FBI has reportedly launched an investigation to examine whether former Rutgers staffer Eric Murdock, the man who leaked videotapes that ultimately led to the firing of coach Mike Rice, tried to extort his former employer.
According to a report in the New York Times, Murdock’s lawyer sent a letter to the university with a request for $950,000 that came two weeks after Rice was suspended in December for his practice behavior. The university declined to pay the money demanded in the letter and Murdock leaked the practice footage to the media.
The video footage of Rice grabbing and kicking his players, as well as yelling homophobic slurs and throwing basketballs at them, has led to the resignation or firing of no less than four Rutgers officials, according to the report.
In the wake of his departure from Rutgers, Murdock filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university and a number of officials there. The university claims his contract was not renewed for reasons that did not include his status as a whistle-blower and instead because “he left Rice’s basketball camp early and without permission, among other factors,” according to the report.
From the New York Times:
James Tareco, a special agent with the F.B.I., visited [former Rutgers AD Tim] Pernetti’s office and other locations at Rutgers, the university official said.
The investigation, which is being led by the F.B.I. office in Newark, is in its early stages. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. said that following policy, she could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.