Rutgers new AD Julie Hermann will keep her job, the school said in a statement released Monday afternoon.
Hermann, accused of verbally abusing and taunting her former volleyball players while at the University of Tennessee, said that school president Robert Barchi has assured her that her job is safe.
“It's been communicated to me [by Barchi] that I'm the athletic director and will lead Rutgers into the Big Ten,” according to ESPN.
According to the story, the president spoke to the Board of Governors on her behalf, and that all parties were in support of Hermann.
Rutgers' statement read:
“Looking at Julie's entire record of accomplishment, which is stellar, we remain confident that we have selected an individual who will work in the best interests of all of our student athletes, our athletics teams, and the university.”
Addressing the allegations, the new AD said she never called her players “whores,” as a letter written by 15 players in 1997 alleged.
“I don't know what their motivation is 17 years later,” she said on the call with four reporters.
“Am I an intense coach? I'm absolutely an intense coach as many coaches are. But there is a big canyon between being super-intense and abuse. And this was not an abusive environment for these women,” Hermann said.
Abbey Watkins, who played under Hermann in 1995-96 at Tennessee, confirmed some of the allegations in an e-mail to ESPN's Andy Katz.
“I write this in response to make sure that the pain that we went through as a team is validated. All of the things that were written are unfortunately true. Many of these things happened to me personally. I truly hope that Julie has changed but refuse for anyone to deny the fact that our dreams had been crushed and our hearts had been broken.”
Watkins continued in the e-mail, claiming that she was the first to speak at the meeting where the players presented the letter to Hermann. “I said that she had made me hate the game I loved. For her or anyone else in the room to say that meeting didn't happen is appalling.”
According to the players, Hermann eventually resigned as the head coach due to the letter. However, Hermann maintains that she doesn't remember there ever being a letter insinuating any verbal abuse.
“I never heard of a letter,” she said on Monday.
Hermann was hired from Louisville on May 15 and tasked with overhauling a Rutgers athletic program, tarnished from the abusive coaching tactics of former basketball coach Mike Rice. Footage was released of Rice heaving basketballs at his players and shouting homophobic slurs at them.
Aside from cleaning up Rutgers' image, Hermann was also charged with leading the University's transition into the Big Ten, which will happen next year. She told reporters she has no plans to resign from her new post.
“I never considered withdrawing because I feel very qualified to lead Rutgers into the future and into the transition of the Big Ten,” she said. “And I do feel the support of the Rutgers' community.”
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