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Rutgers Board Of Governors Member Defends Athletic Director Search, Selection

Julie Hermann Is Accused Of Abusing Student Athletes At A Prior Job
Julie Hermann (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Julie Hermann (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

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BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The new athletic director at Rutgers University is under fire amid a scandal that includes verbal abuse allegations.

New Jersey Sen. Barbara Buono is calling for legislative hearings on the hiring of Julie Hermann who is accused of abusing student athletes at a prior job.

The only member of the university’s Board of Governors on the six-member executive search committee defended the selection of Hermann on Thursday.

Candace Straight is confident the search firm fully vetted Hermann who came highly recommended and quickly became the front runner based on her qualifications, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.

“There was never indication that she was anyone’s pet choice,” Straight said, adding that she personally supported Hermann “by a slight margin,” but the final selection was made by university president Robert Barchi.

Straight said she has no buyer’s remorse after speaking to the new athletic director about the allegations of abuse brought up by members of the University of Tennessee women’s volleyball team.

In 1997, several players wrote a letter detailing alleged name calling, embarrassment, humiliation and physical abuse by then coach Hermann.

“I did not know about the students and about a letter, nobody knew about that. Julie did not know about that,” Straight said. “I believe her 100 percent. I believe Julie, that’s all I can tell you. I believe Julie. I don’t know why these young women decided to come forward now, they didn’t come forward for 17 years.”

It was also revealed that Hermann was involved in a sexual discrimination lawsuit in 2008 while she served as senior athletics administrator at Louisville.

Straight calls the situation unfortunate and said Hermann and the university president Robert Barchi have the board’s full support.

“I think she’s competent to do the job, the question is can she move forward with the cloud over her,” Straight said. “I personally am very, very comfortable of the process and that Julie is the right person to lead our athletic department.”

“My impression is she’s telling the truth. I talked with her privately this weekend,” Straight told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.

There have been calls for Hermann to step aside just weeks after a coaching abuse scandal rocked the school.

She was hired on May 15 after former athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned on April 5 after the former men’s basketball coach was fired for abusive behavior.

Hermann was expected to start at the school on June 17.

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