Rutgers Postpones Embattled AD Julie Hermann's On-Campus Meetings

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2013

PISCATAWAY, NJ - MAY 15: Julie Hermann talks to the media after being introduced as Rutgers University athletic director on May 15, 2013 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Hermann, 49, most recently served as University of Louisville's senior associate athletic director. She replaces Tim Pernetti who resigned on April 5 in the wake of footage came to light of then-head basketball coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing his players during multiple practices.  (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann has faced a barrage of criticism following allegations of abuse and sexual discrimination at previous stops in her career.

Now, following a report by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger, it's unclear when exactly Hermann will get to start her new gig in an official capacity—if at all.

Sources have confirmed to Luicci that the university has postponed a series of on-campus meetings Hermann was scheduled to have next week.

The change was made Friday, as she was scheduled to hit the ground running with meetings with multiple people within the department, including coaches across all Scarlet Knight sports.

Though Hermann was not scheduled to officially take her position until June 17, these meetings were supposed to represent a huge stepping stone going forward for the university. Big Ten president Jim Delany is expected to appear at Rutgers as part of the conference's welcoming plan. Rutgers will join the Big Ten along with Maryland in 2014. 

However, with Hermann's meetings postponed, one has to wonder about what this means. Hermann has come under fire recently after explosive accusations of verbal and physical abuse during her time as the University of Tennessee volleyball coach were exposed by The Star-Ledger's Craig Wolff.

The report states that 16 years ago, all 15 members of the Volunteers volleyball team sent the athletics department a letter that accused Hermann of abuse during her tenure.

"The mental cruelty that we as a team have suffered is unbearable," the players wrote, continuing to say that this was an "irreconcilable issue." Hermann allegedly called the players, among other things, "whores, alcoholics and learning disabled."

Steve Eder of The New York Times provided further damning allegations on Tuesday, reporting that Hermann was the subject of a sexual discrimination lawsuit during her time at Louisville. Hermann was accused of sexually discriminating track and field assistant coach Mary Banker in 2008, helping spearhead a movement to get her fired.

Eventually, a wrongful termination lawsuit was filed, with Banker winning over $300,000 in damages initially. The verdict was overturned by the Kentucky Court of Appeals and is in the process of being sent to the state's Supreme Court. Eder's report claims Rutgers university officials were aware of the suit before hiring Hermann. 

The allegations have sent a dark cloud hovering over Hermann's hiring, which was supposed to mark the dawning of a new era following the ugly Mike Rice scandal.

In a report by ESPN's Don Van Natta, Jr., Rice is shown verbally and physically abusing his players, pelting them with basketballs and shouting homophobic and racial epithets in their direction. 

The basketball coach was removed from his post in April, and athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned following the incident. 

With word of similar actions from Hermann, there have been calls for her dismissal. University president Robert Barchi gave his hire a vote of confidence earlier this week, releasing a statement that said Rutgers had no plans on firing Hermann for the allegations at this time, per Brett McMurphy of ESPN.

However, with the postponement of these meetings, it's become clear Rutgers isn't exactly thrilled to have Hermann hit the ground running with her new position.


Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter: