by MATT GORDON Editor-in-chief
Rutgers University athletics cannot escape controversy. This past week, it was revealed that newly appointed athletic director Julie Hermann abused players during her stint as head coach of the Tennessee women’s volleyball team.
These allegations come at a disturbingly ironic time for Rutgers Athletics, as just a few months earlier, men’s head basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for physical and verbal abuse of his players over his last three years as head coach. Hermann was hired to replace former athletic director Tim Pernetti, who resigned after the Rice scandal.
Hermann, who was the head women’s volleyball coach for several years in the 90s before becoming the assistant athletic director at Louisville, was alleged to have verbally abused several players on the Tennessee team. These allegations started after The Star-Ledger of Newark obtained a signed letter from 15 former players on the 1996 volleyball team.
The letter accused Hermann’s leadership as being “crippling mentally, physically, and most importantly to our success as a division I volleyball team.” The players feel “publicly humiliated, and ripped apart as both players and people.”
Freshman Jason Gizze said, “It is crazy how this keeps happening to Rutgers. First the basketball coach and now the athletic director. Someone needs to step in and stop these controversies before they happen and make sure they don’t hire people like this. Hermann needs to be fired after these allegations.”
Herman has also come under fire for more controversy from her past.
First, Hermann was sued by one of her former assistants on the 1997 volley ball for apparently firing her when she got pregnant in the middle of the season. In a video from the wedding of the same assistant, Hermann warns her about getting pregnant and the consequences of such an event. The case was eventually settled for $150,000 in favor of the former assistant.
Also, it was revealed that Hermann is currently involved in a sexual discrimination lawsuit brought up by a former assistant track and field coach at Lousville, where Hermann was the assistant athletic director for 15 years. The former coach approached Hermann about an issue involving sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by track and field head coach Ron Mann. Hermann was initially supportive of the assistant; however, after the assistant went to human resources for her issues, Hermann fired her. The assistant then brought a lawsuit against Hermann that is still processing in court.
Many people around the college are now wondering about the authenticity of Rutgers’ search for a new athletic director and how thorough this search actually was. It seems no one in the hiring committee thought to check the background of the newly appointed athletic director.
Junior Anchalee Pagsanjan said, “It is crazy how a huge university like Rutgers can do such a poor job at checking the background of the people they hire for their athletic teams. What happened with Hermann is not a first time occurrence, as the same thing happened with Mike Rice. Rutgers needs to stop this chain of bad hires.”