What is going on at Rutgers University?

After writing my April posting about the Rutgers athletic scandal and President Barchi, I thought the story was over. In my April posting I said, “Here is my take on the situation. Since Coach Rice reports to AD Pernetti and Pernetti reports to Barchi, Rutgers is trying to stop the damage at the AD level. This leaves the Rutgers President Barchi as the only survivor involved with the decision whether to fire or just punish Coach Rice. If, after hearing about the contents of the video, President Barchi chose not to spend a few minutes to look at the video, he made a serious mistake. If he looked at the video and chose not to fire Rice he made a serious mistake. In either case the buck stops with him and he, not Pernetti, should have resigned.”

It is hard to imagine what has just transpired a couple of months later. Of course, after the old AD Tim Pernetti decided to resign for the good of Rutgers and take his $450,000 payout with him, you would think President Barchi would tell the Executive Search Committee to find a new AD with no hint of any abusive behavior toward anyone or anything. With all the possible qualified people available and willing to work at such an esteemed university, their choice was Julie Hermann.

I was born and raised in Hackensack, NJ, My first choice for college was Rutgers University. Because of a Rutgers’ swimming requirement for graduation, I chose not to attend. Knowing the high standards Rutgers sets for itself, I can only ask the following question: How does President Barchi still keep his job?

Since accepting the AD job, what have we learned about Julie Hermann? Barchi said in a statement the university looks forward to her running the athletic department. He added that she was the BEST of the 63 candidates interviewed for the job of succeeding Tim Pernetti. His vote of confidence came after the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Hermann resigned as the head women’s volleyball coach at Tennessee 16 years ago after all 15 players at the time wrote a letter accusing her of calling them “alcoholics and learning disabled.”

Hermann in a statement denied using any abusive language with her players. According to the Star-Ledger report, Hermann was confronted by the players in her office. After hearing their complaints, according to the report, Hermann said she didn’t want to coach the team anymore. Julie Hermann then told the press she was assured by President Barchi she would not lose her job despite allegations of abuse. She added that Barchi spoke with the Board of Governors on her behalf and that the Board of Governors reached out to her with a great deal of support.

Are we done with Julie Hermann’s past problems? The answer is no. Hermann said she was not asked by Rutgers Search Committee or Parker Executive Search, the search firm, about the allegations. Hermann said only the search firm asked her about a 1997 jury verdict that awarded $150,000 to a former assistant coach who said Hermann fired her because she became pregnant. Hermann says the assistant was fired because she was underperforming, and it had nothing to do with pregnancy.She is also the focus of another lawsuit — this one during her time as senior athletic administrator at Louisville in 2008. In that suit, a New York Times article reported Hermann expressed concern when assistant track coach Mary Banker went to HR claiming sexual harassment. Banker was fired three weeks later.

To be fair there have been many players and coaches coming to her defense. But one player Hanlon Dow, a sophomore of the 1996 team, told the Star-Ledger: “How ironic that Rutgers had an abusive coach and they’re bringing in someone who was an abusive coach.”

Being a public university it is now up to Governor Chris Christie to put an end to the reign of President Barchi.

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