Negotiations began Thursday between Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti and men's basketball coach Fred Hill to terminate Hill's employment, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.
At issue is whether Rutgers will pay Hill the nearly $2 million he would be owed under his current contract, which has three years remaining. If the sides cannot come to an agreement -- and they were far apart Thursday, according to a source -- then there could be a legal battle ahead for whether Hill will be terminated for cause.
Regardless, Pernetti could fire Hill by the end of the day and then fight over how much, if anything, Hill would be owed.
Rutgers finished 15-17 last season. The Scarlet Knights were 5-13 in the Big East and finished 14th in the 16-team league. Hill, 51, was 47-77 overall after four seasons.
On March 17, Pernetti was quoted in a school release saying Hill would return next season.
"Fred Hill is under contract as our men's basketball head coach," Pernetti said then. "We had a productive meeting and look forward to working together to build the program."
But last week, Hill, whose father, Fred Hill Sr., is Rutgers' baseball coach, reportedly got into a profanity-laced shouting match with Pittsburgh's baseball coach. Hill was reportedly asked to issue a public apology but has declined to do so.
Andy Katz is a senior writer who covers college basketball for ESPN.com.