Eric Murdock sought 'settlement'

An attorney for Eric Murdock, Rutgers' former director of player development for men's basketball, sought $950,000 from the university as settlement for Murdock's wrongful termination claims, ESPN has learned.

On Dec. 27, Barry A. Kozyra, Murdock's attorney, sent a two-page letter, obtained by ESPN, to John K. Bennett, who is representing Rutgers University, seeking $950,000. Murdock's annual salary at Rutgers was $70,000. The letter was dated two weeks after Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice was suspended three games without pay and fined $50,000 for a violation of athletic department policy, which Rutgers announced on Dec. 13.

Rice did not renew Murdock's contract in 2012 after Murdock attended his son's basketball camp instead of a private camp run by Rice.

The letter states: "While we believe that the recent suspension and fine of Mr. Rice and his enrollment in anger management and future monitoring of his conduct (as we suggested) was a small step in the right direction, it is unfathomable to think that Mr. Rice's employment with the University continues while Mr. Murdock remains unemployed for simply having done the right thing. ...

"We are willing to give your clients until the close of business on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, to address final resolution of this matter. Otherwise, we have already prepared a Complaint and will file suit without further notice. To resolve claims for damages inclusive of attorney fees and costs, Mr. Murdock is willing to accept $950,000.00."

Rice was fired Wednesday, less than 24 hours after videotape of his behavior during Rutgers' basketball practices, obtained by "Outside the Lines" and showing the former coach physically and verbally abusing players, aired on ESPN.

FBI special agent James Tareco was on the Piscataway, N.J., campus Thursday questioning individuals about Murdock, a source told ESPN. An FBI spokeswoman, after speaking with a Newark FBI agent on Thursday, said she could not comment.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti could not be reached, and a Rutgers spokesperson declined comment.

Raj Gadhok, another of Murdock's lawyers, said Thursday that he could not comment until he reviewed the letter. He said the letter represents "a settlement offer." Gadhok filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on Murdock's behalf in Essex County, N.J., on Friday.