It hasn’t been a good week for Rutgers since hiring new athletic director Julie Hermann from Louisville.
Quickly, allegations came out that she inflicted “mental cruelty” as the Tennessee volleyball coach, followed by Tuesday afternoon when the New York Times reported she was part of a sexual discrimination lawsuit in 2008.
Despite the circus surrounding a hire that was suppose bring Rutgers out from under the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers President Robert Barchi was given “complete confidence” by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
On Tuesday night, during his monthly call-in show on 105.1 WKXW, Christie answered questions about Barchi’s leadership of the state’s university, but seemed to deflect questions about the hire of Hermann.
“I have absolute confidence in Bob Barchi,” Christie said. “I think he is the right man for the job and he has my complete confidence and support.
“I don’t know Julie Hermann,” Christie continued. “I have never met Julie Hermann. I have never spoken to Julie Hermann. I wasn’t involved in her recruiting or her vetting or anything else, as I should not be. I’m the governor of New Jersey. I’m not the recruiter for Rutgers University. My point on all this is: Let Rutgers handle this. Past mistakes by Rutgers has led to this intense media attention and I understand that and I don’t argue with it.”
Christie responded to another call, again avoiding any sort of comment on the Hermann hire.
“Not my call,” Christie said. “I’m confident in President Barchi’s judgment. I’m confident in the judgment of [Board] Chairman Ralph Izzo and the Board of Governors and I’m confident in the judgment of the general counsel, John Farmer. All three of whom I spoke to this weekend in great detail multiple times and at the end of those conversations my position is very clear.”
“My job is not to run Rutgers,” Christie added. “That’s the job of the board of governors and President Barchi and the general counsel, John Farmer, all of whom I have respect for. These are their decisions. They decided to hire (new basketball coach) Eddie Jordan. They decided to hire Julie Hermann. And now they have to deal with the questions that are being raised.”
President Barchi can sleep easy knowing that he has the support of the governor, but this fallout from the recent hire of Julie Hermann doesn’t appear to be over.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne