The latest on the disaster that is Rutgers’ athletic department


Rutgers athletic department is a train wreck, and I’m not simply talking about the fact that every decision that they have made over the course of the last six month has been the wrong one.

It’s so ugly, yet I can’t look away. I keep waiting for the next bombshell.

If you need a refresher, buckle up:

In April, basketball coach Mike Rice was fired because a video surfaced of him abusing his players in practice by throwing balls at their head and by using gay slurs directed at them. A few weeks later, athletic director Tim Pernetti — who had done an unbelievable amount for the school’s sports programs, including getting them into the Big Ten — was fired in large part because he allowed Rice to work for five months after he saw the video. To replace Rice, Rutgers hired Eddie Jordan, who claimed to be a graduate of Rutgers but had never actually received a degree from the university.

The latest scandal involves the hiring of the new athletic director, Julie Hermann, who lost her job as the women’s volleyball head coach at Tennessee for doing basically the same thing that Rice was fired for: being a bully of a head coach.

Since that news leaked out over the weekend, it’s been one black eye after another: Hermann was involved in a sexual discrimination lawsuit at Louisville; she claims to not remember a letter that her team confronted her with at Tennessee; she claims to not remember being a bridesmaid in the wedding of a former assistant that accused her of mistreatment for getting pregnant.

The latest?

Rutgers paid $70,000 to run a background check on Hermann.



That means one of two things: Either Rutgers spent an unnecessary amount of money on a worthless background check despite the fact that two days before Hermann was hired, the Newark Star-Ledger tried to tip them off about her issues at Tennessee; or they knew about Hermann’s past and thought that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to hire her despite the fact that reason her coaching career ended is the exact same reason that Rutgers is in this mess in the first place.

So, Rutgers, you’re either ignorant or incompetent.

It gets better.

Last night, ran with a report detailing emails that they had obtained from the 26-member search committee. (Yup, Rutgers had a 26-member search advisory committee decide to hire Hermann.) My favorite was this one, which came from the two co-chairs of that committee:

“As members of the Search Advisory Team, you all had the opportunity to examine Julie’s credentials, to spend some time with her when she was on campus, and to provide us with your thoughts regarding her candidacy as Rutgers’ next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics,” they said. “As you know, there was strong support for Julie, and for what she could bring to Rutgers.”

Translation: Y’all had a chance to complain, but like us, you didn’t have a clue. If we go down, we’re bringing all of you with us.

What a disaster.

But I can’t stop watching.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?