‘‘I won’t say numbers, but I've given over seven figures, and like a lot of people who have done the same, I support Tim Pernetti,’’ Wheeler told the newspaper.
Pernetti, who hired Rice in 2010, viewed him as the man who could turn the perennially underachieving program around. But Rice went 44-51 in three years and posted a 16-38 mark in the Big East. The Scarlet Knights went 15-16 this season, including 5-13 in the league. They have not been to the NCAA tournament since 1991.
Barchi said Rice was not fired for cause. Under his contract, that means he’s owed just over $1 million for the next two years at 75 percent of his contract amount, plus another $100,000 for completing the 2012-13 season as coach.
Also resigning was John B. Wolf, Rutgers’ interim senior vice president and general counsel, who is believed to have recommended against firing Rice in December over the video. On Thursday, the school said assistant coach Jimmy Martelli had resigned.
Pernetti was given the video by a former employee, Eric Murdock, and the decision was made in December to suspend Rice for three games, fine and dock him pay totaling $75,000 and order him to attend anger management classes.
Murdock filed a whistleblower lawsuit Friday, alleging Rutgers violated the state’s employee protection act and his contract. He said he wrote to the university in July about Rice’s ‘‘unlawful conduct,’’ and gave the university the video in November.
‘‘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.
Rutgers officials, including Barchi, declined to comment about the lawsuit.
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.
He said he was let go after a dispute with Rice about skipping the coach’s youth basketball camp and, ultimately, because he complained to university officials about Rice’s mistreatment of players.
Murdock claims the school violated state anti-bullying law and a Rutgers policy put in place after the 2010 suicide of student Tyler Clementi after learning his roommate had used the webcam to watch him kiss another man.
‘‘Despite their obligations under New Jersey law and the university’s own policy, neither the presidents of the university, the athletic director nor any other university representatives took any steps to assure that the rights of the student-athlete members of the men’s basketball program were protected from assault (both physical and verbal), battery, harassment, intimidation, bullying, defamation and other unlawful conduct,’’ the lawsuit states.
Despite the latest resignations and the growing troubles for Rutgers, Barchi got votes of confidence Friday.
In a statement, Christie commended Barchi ‘‘for his decisive leadership in coming to an agreement with Mr. Pernetti to have the athletic department of Rutgers University come under new leadership,’’ he said. ‘‘This entire incident was regrettable and while it has damaged the reputation of our state university, we need to move forward now on a number of fronts which provide great opportunities for Rutgers’ future.’’
Ralph Izzo, chairman of the school’s board of governors, called Barchi ‘‘the right person to run this place for many years to come.’’
‘‘Dr. Barchi was brought on here eight months ago with two primary objectives: No. 1 was to build a strategic plan for this university for 10 years, going forward, to lead us to academic success and academic greatness; and No. 2, an enormous challenge of integrating a medical school with this university. Being on the job two months, hearing from a general counsel and the athletic director that there was a serious problem, I think he did the right thing by acquiescing to that advice at the time.’’