The Rutgers Dumpster Fire Continues Unabated…
The Confidential is about the ACC. The ACC is in competition with the Big 10. Rutgers is now part of the Big 10. So we are justified at laughing at the follies of the Big 10 and Rutgers. But, even if we were not justified, schadenfreude is our weakness. We have made fun of Rutgers (a fine University, we must note) in the past and we will continue to do so. Heck, we’ll defend Rutgers, where appropriate. For today, let’s all take a moment to roast some marshmallows over the Rutgers’ dumpster fire.
If you are keeping score, Rutgers announced that it was joining the Big 10 in November 2012. That was the good news.
Since then, it has been all bad news. The Columbus Dispatch and columnist Michael Arace provide a nice synopsis of how bad it has been since that November 2012 announcement:
- Head basketball coach “Mike Rice was caught, on tape, conducting practices in which he threw basketballs at players, shouted homophobic slurs at them and yanked them around by their jerseys.”
- “Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti had known of the tape for months but, upon the advice of school lawyers and public-relations advisers, he merely fined and suspended Rice rather than fire him.”
- “It had its hand forced when the video went viral in April . . .Rice was fired. Pernetti, a graduate of Rutgers who had a distinguished career at the school, found a similar fate . . .”
- “Eddie Jordan was hired as the basketball coach, and it seemed like a nice save. Jordan had a career in the NBA as a player and a coach and, as the school trumpeted, was a Rutgers graduate. Problem: Jordan never got his degree.”
In light of all that, one would think that Rutgers would be VERY careful with the hiring of Pernetti’s replacement.
A few weeks ago, Rutgers hired Julie Hermann, who was part of Louisville’s rise to athletic prominence. Good hire, right? Comes from a program that understands growth. Louisville has great revenue streams, despite paltry Big East TV revenue. Oh, and Louisville is #1 in hoops, #10 in football, and doing well in non-revenue sports. And Rutgers gets to show gender equity.
Not so fast.
Here is Arace’s summary of Ms. Hermann:
Hermann was accused by some former players of abusing them when she was the women’s volleyball coach at Tennessee in the late 1990s. Among the charges were that Hermann denied them showers or meals after losses.
The report is damning. The Star-Ledger has 11 former players on the record, and it reprinted a 1996 letter in which the women accused Hermann of calling them “whores, alcoholics and learning disabled.” It also quoted a former assistant coach who said that she was fired for getting pregnant.
Hermann does not remember any of this. After Tennessee, she served as an associate athletic director at Louisville, where she was named in a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by fired assistant track coach Mary Banker. Hermann testified at the trial. A jury awarded Banker $300,000, but an appeals court overturned the verdict, saying Banker failed to prove that Louisville had retaliated against her.
Other than all that, she is fine.
The easy answer is that this is old, weak material. But the point is–Rutgers needed to hire someone to quiet the program criticism down. Not inflame it. Hence the dumpster fire.
And Rutgers fans need not apologize or make accusations of media bias. Welcome to big time athletics. Try making it to a Final Four or meaningful bowl game… it gets worse. Success based on accomplishments brings out the bashers and haters. Joining the Big 10 is similar. Even if it is new to Rutgers’ fans, it is not unique to them.