Rutgers paid a firm $70,000 to perform a background check that did not uncover accusations of verbal and emotional abuse from former players against new athletics director Julie Hermann, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.
A contract obtained by the Press shows Rutgers hired Parker Executive Search to advertise the opening, identify candidates and perform background checks.
From the Press:
Laurie Wilder, executive vice president of Parker Executive Search, who signed the three-page agreement, declined an interview request for this story, saying in an email, “We do not discuss our clients publicly.’’
Rutgers has come under fire for months of missteps in the handling and hiring of two men's basketball coaches, and the vetting of Hermann, a former senior athletics administrator at Louisville and Tennessee volleyball coach:
- The New York Times reported Tuesday that Hermann was at the center of a sex discrimination lawsuit at Louisville after an assistant track and field coach alleged she went to Hermann to complain of sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by the head coach. The assistant coach, Mary Banker, was fired after taking her complaints to Louisville’s human resources department.
- The Newark Star-Ledger reported Saturday Hermann quit as Tennessee's volleyball coach after every player on the team complained she called players "whores, alcoholics and learning disabled." They allegedly signed a letter proclaiming their situation and Hermann's approach as a unanimous and irreconcilable issue.
- The Star-Ledger also reported a jury forced Hermann to pay $150,000 in a lawsuit filed by former assistant coach Ginger Hineline. Hineline alleged Hermann told her not to have a child while working as a Tennessee coach. Hineline filed the lawsuit after she was fired. Hermann denied the firing was connected to Hineline's pregnancy.
Despite the revelations, Hermann said she has no plans to resign.
Rutgers hoped the hiring of Hermann would help the university and its athletic programs pull itself out of controversy initiated when the school decided not to fire men's basketball coach Mike Rice despite video proof of him physcially and verbally abusing his players during practices.
The release of the videos made Rice's actions public, he was fired and athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced out. Early in May, Rutgers hired Eddie Jordan to lead the program into its move to the Big Ten only to have Deadspin uncover the school's claim that the former Knights star was a Rutgers graduate was not true.