Scandal-hit Rutgers names first female athletic director

Reuters News
Posted: May 15, 2013 5:36 PM
Scandal-hit Rutgers names first female athletic director

By David Jones

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Rutgers University picked a woman to head its athletic programs on Wednesday, as New Jersey's largest public college looks to move on from a scandal that saw several top sports officials resign.

Julie Hermann, 49, who was a senior executive atheletic director at the University of Louisville, will be the first woman to hold the post of athletic director at Rutgers.

Her predecessor, Tim Pernetti, resigned in early April after ESPN aired video showing the school's then-head men's basketball coach abusing players and berating them with homophobic slurs. The coach, Mike Rice, was fired.

Rutgers President Robert Barchi, who had faced down calls for his own resignation during the uproar after the videos were aired, called Hermann "simply a remarkable leader."

Hermann, who starts a five-year contract on June 17, acknowledged the school's sports programs will have a way to go to regain the trust of fans, alumni and students.

"I'm well aware that many people that support this institution were deeply hurt by what took place," she said.

The scandal put a spotlight on the high-pressure world of college sports, where millions of dollars of television revenue are at stake, coaches can command six-figure salaries but players are unpaid.

Rutgers will pay Hermann a $450,000 annual base salary, with a $50,000 bonus target.

At Louisville, Hermann oversaw a nationally ranked athletic program that won the NCAA men's basketball championship earlier this year.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Gevirtz)