Hermann, Rutgers Stand Ground

The Rutgers administration and embattled athletic director Julie Hermann stood their ground today in the first public comments since Saturday night's detailed Star-Ledger report regarding her tenure at Tennessee. Accused of verbal abuse by former players, Hermann denied claims in statements made today and president Robert Barchi stood behind her.

Rutgers and athletic director Julie Hermann spoke out Monday afternoon in response to Saturday night's Star-Ledger article about her past. Statements made by Hermann and president Robert Barchi are the first since the report surfaced and display a readiness to dig in behind the newly minted athletic director.

Hermann denied allegations of verbal abuse during her tenure as Tennessee women's volleyball coach and said she will not resign as athletic director.

"Over the years, I have tried to learn from each mistake, including the lessons I learned as a young coach," Hermann said in a statement. "I have become a stronger leader, administrator, and educator as a result. If you look at my 25-year career in athletics, I believe the record shows I am a steadfast advocate for student athletes. I intend to take that passion and hard-earned experience into my leadership role as athletic director of Rutgers University."

Barchi, also under fire for mismanagement of several media scandals, showed he stood behind his new athletic director. In a statement released alongside Hermann's, Barchi voiced his support for her.

Barchi also defended the search process, where co-chair Kate Sweeney is under fire for her role in placing Hermann in the pool.

"Rutgers was deliberative at every stage of this process," Barchi said. "Over the course of the search, Julie's record established her as a proven leader in athletics administration with a strong commitment to academic success as well as athletic excellence and a strong commitment to the well-being of student athletes.

"Since the announcement of her selection, some media reports have focused on complaints about aspects of her early career. Looking at Julie's entire record of accomplishment, which is stellar, we remain confident that we have selected an individual who will work in the best interests of all of our student athletes, our athletics teams and the university."

Hermann addressed both accusations in her statement, saying that she had no knowledge of a letter written by former players.

"Throughout my career, I have worked with an unwavering commitment to the interests of student athletes," she said. "I have worked to demonstrate that women deserve places of leadership in university athletics and to ensure that student athletes are treated with the respect and dignity. That is what makes the allegations made by some of my former student athletes at the University of Tennessee so heartbreaking.

"I know the recently published story has caused distress. I was never notified of the reported letter outlining the concerns of some former athletes. However, I am truly sorry that some were disappointed during my tenure as coach. For sure, I was an intense coach, but there is a vast difference between high intensity and abusive behavior."

Hermann denied knowledge of a wedding video regarding her lawsuit in her introductory press conference. After the video surfaced Saturday night on NJ.com, she clarified her statement by saying she did not remember it and apologized for what she called "misspeaking."

"On the matter of the litigation, that issue was addressed many years ago and was known to Rutgers," Hermann said. "I am sorry for the confusion I created by misspeaking about the existence of a video tape. It was recorded nearly 20 years ago and I simply did not recall the video tape until I saw it in media reports."

Many of Hermann's former colleagues took to an email campaign yesterday, passing on comments of support to media members across the country.

"I have only known Julie to conduct herself with the highest level of professionalism and integrity," said Louisville volleyball coach Anne Kordes in an email to ScarletReport.com and others. "She serves as an incredible role model for female athletes, coaches, and administrators and has always made it clear that she is supportive of her coaches starting and expanding family."

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