New Rutgers AD Julie Hermann meets with coaches, Delany

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Despite the continuing controversy surrounding accusations of her volatile professional past, it doesn't look like new Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is going anywhere.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Hermann was on the Scarlet Knight campus in Piscataway, N.J., meeting with coaches and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. Delany has been in New York this week to announce the Big Ten's new partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl.

The school's hire of Hermann to replace former athletic director Tim Pernetti has come under instense fire in recent weeks, primarily over accusations of verbal and emotional abuse by members of the 1997 Tennessee volleyball team, which Hermann coached. A letter sent to administration by players at that time claimed Hermann had called them "whores, alcoholics and learning disabled."

But Hermann has also faced criticism for her role in a sex discrimination lawsuit at Louisville and a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit at Tennessee.

"That lesson of 17 years ago was honestly why I felt I was uniquely qualified, not only very qualified but uniquely qualified because I have been a student-athlete, been an assistant coach, been a head coach and now an administrator," Hermann said at a press conference Wednesday, referring to her Volunteer volleyball tenure. "I have been in every spot that exists in an athletic department, and I understand the challenges.

"I have been successful with them and I had a failure with them."

The outcry surrounding Hermann's appointment has been vastly amplified by the long shadow of the Mike Rice abuse scandal. But Hermann has denied the accusations, and the school and president Robert Barchi -- himself a target of criticism in the wake of the Rice scandal -- have maintained that Hermann will not be replaced.

Per the AP, terminating Hermann's contract would cost the cash-strapped athletic department some $2.25 million.

"I look forward to Julie joining the Rutgers team later this month," Barchi said Wednesday, per the AP. "Julie and I had a great discussion today about her priorities and plans to strengthen the student-athlete experience and support the excellent coaches and staff at Rutgers by making sure they have the resources to succeed.

"Our smooth integration into the Big Ten is a top priority for the university. I am confident that Julie and her team will set the stage for a great transition."

Delany's visit to the school and with Hermann could be a second show of support after the commissioner found himself forced to emphasize that Rutgers' recent troubles and stained reputation will have no effect on its scheduled move to the Big Ten in 2014.

"You should rest assured that Rutgers will be a member of the Big Ten, on time, in place," Delany said at the Pinstripe Bowl press conference. "I believe that things will calm down. They're not calm now; that's pretty obvious. My job is not ... to solve their problems. My job is to build and promote and help if I can, if asked."

 
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