The ongoing/never-ending Rutgers debacle
Rutgers University can't seem to get things right with its athletic department.
Perception can often become reality, and the problem with the athletic department at Rutgers University is it seems no one has any idea of what they are currently doing.
The last several months in New Brunswick is a lesson in how not to properly manage a crisis situation.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi was already under fire because of the player-abuse scandal that led to the firing of basketball coach Mike Rice and the resignations of athletic director Tim Pernetti and interim senior vice president and university counsel John Wolf.
It didn't help that Barchi admitted that while he had been told of the infamous video showing Rice physically and verbally abusing players during practice early in the process, he actually had not bother to watch it until the scandal had broken.
Now each step Barchi has taken to rectify the situation has come with its own type of doo-doo.
First Rutgers is embarrassed in April when a media report comes out that newly hired men's basketball coach Eddie Jordan lied on his resume by saying he had earned a degree in health and physical education 35 years ago from, you guessed it, Rutgers University.
Rutgers didn't vet Jordan, who starred for the basketball program at Rutgers, well enough to know that he hadn't actually graduated from Rutgers like he has claimed.
Now the latest from "Stupidity 101' is the "Newark Star Ledger" reporting on Saturday that recently hired athletic director Julie Hermann was accused 16 years ago in a letter signed by all the players on the University of Tennessee women's volleyball team that she was mentally abusive and cruel as their head coach.
In essence, Hermann, who is scheduled to take over in June, was accused by players of acting in a manner remarkably similar to Rice – the coach who started this house of dominoes.
"Am I an intense coach?" Hermann told ESPN while denying the letter that all 15 Tennessee players signed. "Absolutely as many coaches are.
"There's a big canyon between being super intense and abuse. This was not an abusive environment. Yes, it was incredibly challenge. Was I aware players were unhappy? I was unaware by the end of the season. We had many challenges with this group of women."
Hermann, who said she had never heard of the letter, concedes she had many challenges with the players yet no one was unhappy, even though she parted with the program at the same time and got out of coaching.
I'm not saying Rutgers shouldn't have hired Hermann.
People can change and learn from mistakes, and Hermann, who has been a senior executive associate athletic director at the University of Louisville, has apparently built a stellar reputation since leaving Tennessee after the 1996 season.
But for Rutgers, considering all that has happened, to let this information about Hermann come out in a newspaper report makes the university is inept.
Anyone with half a brain had to know that Hermann's history was going to be scrutinized and the information about the letter would come out. For Rutgers to have not been in front of that story was ridiculous.
All Rutgers had to do was say it investigated the matter at Tennessee and takes it seriously but still believes that over the past 16 years Hermann has proven capable of leading our university's athletic program into the future.
Instead Rutgers now has New Jersey governor Chris Christie and several other state lawmakers openly wondering what's going on with the management of the state's university.
Hermann saying on Monday that Barchi assured her that her job was safe wasn't the strongest vote of confidence.
Usually, the person making the assurance is the one who announces it.
Hermann will be safe until Barchi and the Rutgers boards of regents need to again cover their butts.