A federal grand jury is now looking into the hiring and what role her husband played in it.
Easley's whopping pay raise drew fire from plenty of critics who e-mailed their opinions to the school. Those e-mails - made public as part of the investigation - are highly critical.
"If this is the kind of ship you run, it should be sinking," wrote one person in a message to then-chancellor James Oblinger.
"I'm very disappointed," said another.
In an effort to ease concern and to protect the school's reputation, university leaders responded to some of the messages they received last year - offering their explanation for hiring Easley.
But it was little consolation to NC State Trustee Cassius Williams who angrily wrote: "What in the world is this crap about Mary Easley and NCSU? I am embarrassed. This makes it hard to call legislators and ask for money to support NCSU."
It's unclear if the Easley controversy will hurt the university's bottom-line, but alumni have threatened to stop their support.
"Please remove me from any future fundraising calls," said one writer.
"In this economic climate facing us, this decision is outrageous. I will no longer contribute to your university. What are you people thinking? Idiots," wrote another person.
If there's any long-term fallout for state, it could be in its Wolfpack pride.
"There's no way to justify an 88 percent raise. Signed one less NCSU supporter," a faithful fan wrote.