By Melissa Hayes and Patricia Alex, Staff Writers, The Record.

The impression was clear: Rutgers’ top lawyer, who had agreed that the men’s basketball coach should be suspended — rather than fired — for abusive behavior against his players, was gone. University President Robert L. Barchi announced General Counsel John B. Wolf’s resignation “from his leadership position” last Friday.

What Barchi didn’t say was that Wolf would remain on the school’s payroll as a staff attorney.

The university confirmed that arrangement for the first time on Tuesday afternoon.

“He will no longer hold a leadership position,” the school said in a statement released after The Record requested clarification on his status. “He has returned to a position as a university attorney.”

Rutgers pegged his salary in the statement at more than $280,000 a year. Wolf has also held the title of interim senior vice president.

“This is an insult to taxpayers and the Rutgers community,” said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, D-Essex, who is already pushing for a legislative investigation. “This decision cannot stand, and I want to know who was responsible for it. I’m beginning to believe misrepresentations have been made.”

Governor Christie had also seemed to think that Wolf was out on Monday, when he held his first news conference since the firestorm erupted over how Rutgers responded to a video showing Mike Rice, then the men’s basketball coach, verbally and physically abusing his players. Christie had said it was time for Rutgers to move on and that “the people who are responsible for the process are gone.”

“Mr. Pernetti was not solely responsible for this bad decision,” the governor said, referring to the former athletic director, Tim Pernetti, who suspended Rice for three games and fined him $50,000, rather than firing him outright. “General counsel at the university had a responsibility for this as did Coach Rice,” Christie said.


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