On Saturday evening the Newark Star-Ledger filed a report regarding allegations of verbal abuse by new Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann during her tenure at the volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee.
The allegations are the latest development in a saga that began with the revelation of former head basketball coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing players in practices.
And they certainly don’t help an administration that vowed to conduct thorough background checks when looking for a new coach and athletic director.
On Sunday evening some of Hermann’s former colleagues and fellow administrators voiced their support for the embattled athletic director, with a former assistant of Hermann’s denying the alleged verbal abuse.
“Just to know what we went through with these kids, I can’t fathom why they would come up with these claims,” former Tennessee assistant volleyball coach Kimberly Tibbetts told Keith Sargeant of Gannett New Jersey.
“We were adults and they were kids so I don’t feel comfortable talking about what they went through. It was just a tough time for all of us. We were there for them. She was there for them. She held their hands when they struggled. She loved them, and for her and I both to sit there and look at so many of these names it really hurts.”
While there were words of support for Hermann there was also the entrance of politicians into the fray. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that he’ll be in touch with Rutgers administrators to discuss the situation, and other state politicians want both Hermann and school president Dr. Robert L. Barchi to step down.
It remains to be seen what will come of the latest development in Rutgers Athletics. But with the program just over a year away from entering the Big Ten, the sooner this is all resolved the better.
The school has taken a beating from a perception standpoint in recent months, and a good portion of it has been self-inflicted.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.