Rutgers University's Julie Hermann Controversy Not Going Away

Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIJune 8, 2013

Newly appointed assistant director Julie Hermann
Newly appointed assistant director Julie HermannRich Schultz/Getty Images

Rutgers University has yet another scandal, this time concerning newly hired AD Julie Hermann. 

Hermann was brought in to replace former AD Tim Pernetti, who was forced out in the Mike Rice scandal. Everyone knows who Mike Rice is after ESPN aired a video of the former basketball coach kicking, punching and verbally abusing his players.

Although Hermann has recently been given a vote of confidence by Rutgers president Robert Barchi—he announced that she will officially start her job on June 17—a controversy has arisen over the way she has danced around allegations brought forth by 15 of her former Tennessee volleyball players.

The allegations were described in a letter that was read at a meeting with the Tennessee administration, the players and Hermann in attendance. The players accused their coach of emotional and verbal abuse and claimed that Herman called them whores, alcoholics and learning disabled.

When Rutgers announced Hermann's hiring on May 15, she was asked about the letter, the meeting and the allegations of verbal abuse. She said she didn't remember any of those events.

At this same press conference, she also said she didn't remember attending her assistant coach Ginger Hineline's wedding and claimed there was no video. Since her statement, a video of her attending the wedding and catching the bouquet has appeared on the NJ Star-Ledger website.

On the video, one can hear hear Hermann telling Hineline not to get pregnant. Hineline sued the University of Tennessee for unlawful pregnancy discrimination and won $150,000 in damages. Hermann has never taken responsibility for the statement or the suit. According to, Hermann said, "It was litigated and although I do not believe in the outcome, there is nothing more to say on the subject."

Was Hermann lying when she claimed she forgot about the letter, the wedding, the meeting, calling her players whores, the video and so on?  According to former New Jersey governor Richard Codey, she definitely was. On ESPN radio, Codey said, "She’s lying, obviously. What would these young ladies’ motivation for lying be?”

Do the powers that be at Rutgers think Hermann's the best choice to lead the athletic department into the Big 10, or are they afraid that admitting an error in hiring would be another embarrassment for the state university, possibly a costly one? 
Did Hermann spend so much time at a June 5 press conference talking about the student athletes because she feels they should be her main focus as athletic director or because she has no perspective on funds, facilities and scheduling, etc.?

Either way, this controversy is not going away.