TRENTON — New Jersey legislators want to know why Rutgers University makes big payouts to outgoing coaches and administrators.

The questions come after an NJ.com report revealed that the state school, which receives 20 percent of its funding from the state, paid $11.5 million to departing coaches, athletic directors, and other personnel to avoid possible litigation.

Among the payouts, according to the report, were $1.6 million to Julie Hermann when she was fired as athletic director, $1.4 million for fired football coach Kyle Flood, and $480,000 for chancellor Debasish Dutta in July, after just a year in the position.

"I am looking forward to the complete explanation to the public," state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, wrote on her Facebook page in a post linking to a NorthJersey.com story in which she said the university is spending public money. She threatened hearings if the university is not "transparent" about the money.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris, joined Weinberg in seeking an explanation.

"It is unconscionable that a State-funded university would have the gall to raise tuition, and then turn right back around and give away millions of dollars to elite employees. These golden parachutes are an outrageous misuse of funds. Rutgers owes students and taxpayers an explanation. After all, they pay their salary," Pennacchio said in a statement.

Pennacchio said the figure in NJ.com's story would cover tuition for about 800 students. He is considering introducing legislation that would end "non-contractually obligated and egregious payouts."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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