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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The question is not about Hermann...


- Rutgers stands behind Hermann.

Julie Hermann isn't backing down and Rutgers isn't either 
I keep hoping to wake up and see that the media firestorm over Julie Hermann has died down.   Not the case today as a new story emerges marring our beloved Hermann.

The latest media revelation is that Hermann was at the center of a sex discrimination lawsuit at U of L as recently as 2008. See the story here:

 Under the lawsuit a former track and field assistant coach took concerns of sexist behavior and discriminatory treatment at the hands of the track and field coach to Hermann.  After taking the concerns to the Human Resources Department at the University, the assistant was fired 3 weeks later. 

The then assistant won the wrongful termination suit, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals later overturned it.  Her attorney now states they are taking the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court. 

As a lifelong Louisvillian, and a fan of Louisville Athletics in general, and the women’s programs specifically, it is so hard to reconcile the media reports with the woman we have known at Louisville over the last 15 years. 

The Hermann I know, the kind of “know” that comes from being a passionate observer on the outside, just does not mesh with the one in the media reports.  Those following U of L athletics know her to be passionate, witty, knowledgeable, dedicated and a “silent” partner alongside one of the best A.D.’s in the country.   This powerful duo has completely reshaped the landscape of Louisville Athletics, has attracted, and retained I might add, many highly sought out, top-notch coaches in the country.  Together they have rebuilt what was a decaying Louisville Athletic program.  Whether it be facilities, coaches, academic success in the classroom, gender equity, Louisville Athletics has soared under the leadership of Jurich and Hermann.

While I have never been in a boardroom, business meeting, conference call or any such business related scenarios with Hermann, I know people who have.  The resounding opinion of those she interacted with and oversaw give Hermann nothing but glowing praise. 

Hermann's popularity among UofL fans is off the charts.
How can one reconcile the person that the media is portraying her to be (or was) to who she is now,  It is so hard to wrap one’s head around.  I get whiplash watching this unfold in the media, as these two scenarios could not be further apart. 
and how beloved she is at Louisville?

Cardinal Couple founders and owners Paulie and Sonja are on record in supporting Hermann.  I, too, knowing the depth of which she has touched and changed Louisville Athletics, cannot imagine anything other than support for her.   All indications are that being a senior administrator at Louisville has undoubtedly prepared her for the enormous task that awaits her at Rutgers.  Rebuilding.  Recovering.  Rebranding a marred program.  I cannot help but think she will be excellent at this job, if given the chance. 

That being the case, I also cannot imagine how Rutgers decided to choose Hermann.  While I think she seems tailor made for this job, how could they possibly make the choice they made, given the allegations they had to uncover when vetting Hermann? 

Given the very recent goings on at Rutgers, how do you choose a new AD with abuse allegations in their past?   They had to know this would be a firestorm.  They also had to know that the public scrutiny would be at an all time high, and no stone would be unturned.  How do you make this decision, under such microscopic scrutiny, and expect your supporters to move forward and heal? 

C. Vivian Stringer one of the questions at Rutgers/
Rutgers is trying to shut the door on a disastrous PR nightmare, and yet they walk open-eyed into a scenario that the media is portraying as similar?  Assuming all of the aforementioned allegations by every media outlet are false, this hire by Rutgers is nothing short of shocking to me.  This is coming from someone who supports Hermann!  I can only imagine the outrage of Rutgers fans. 

To me, this decision is not about whether or not Hermann is capable of doing the job she was hired to do.  I absolutely believe is she is more than capable and qualified.  It is about understanding how Rutgers can make this particular decision in the face of (albeit long ago) allegations similar to those behaviors of a coach the Athletic Program is trying to heal from. 

Please, let there be no doubt, I support the Julie Hermann that Louisville has known for the last 15 years, but I cannot for the life of me understand Rutgers.  

-Jenny O'Bryan

(Jenny O'Bryan is a regular columnist for CARDINAL COUPLE and also one of the co-hosts on CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO. Her columns can be read on Wednesdays each week here at Cardinal Couple. The radio show can be heard at and covers the joy and excitement that is UofL women's sports. It is Saturdays @ 11 a.m. and archived broadcasts can be found on the SoundCloud at the site. )



  1. What you said, and you said it well.

  2. I am a Scarlet Knights fan, season ticket holder and alumni. Although I was originally surprised with the choice of Hermann as our athletic director and I was a Pernetti backer, I have come to realize what a wonderful job Hermann has done at Louisville. I hope she can accomplish the same here. We need it.

    The issues of what she did as a coach at Tennessee don't cloud my judgement on what she can do as an administrator or athletic director. The Louisville incident with the track coach doesn't cloud by judgement either. It was not directly involving Hermann. It concerned the track and field coach. I understand he recently announced his retirement. I wonder about that parallel.

    I will stand with our governoring board and our Rutgers University president. Your article today, although very complimentary of Hermann, does cast rather cruel dispersions on our university. The decision to bring Hermann on board, I can well assure you, was well thought out and well researched and the incidents above were investigated I am sure.

    We have a rather intense, intrepid and at times cruel press and media market in our area. If Hermann can survive them, her job rebuilding Rutgers will be easy, in comparision.

    Kelly J.
    Hoboken, NJ

  3. Dana O'Neil has a column on the ESPN website that summarizes the issues pretty clearly. To paraphrase -Rutgers (and its search firm) did a less than adequate job of vetting Hermann, and she has done a less than adequate job of addressing the allegations. O'Neil calls it the "teen caught with a beer can" defense. I still don't see how Hermann survives this.

    1. A teen caught with a beer can. Teens grow up and so has Julie. The only reason that I can see Rutgers recanting the hire of Julie is if it is discovered she has lied. Given the fiasco with Eddie Jordan and Tim Rice and all the Tim Pernetti loyalist lying in the tall weeds ready to pounce, if Julie has lie...they got no choice but to let her go.


    2. She has certainly exhibited, shall we say, "selective memory".

    3. It is something that the media has jumped on, Mike...and just complicates an already complex, unfortunate and seemingly never-ending story line and discussion. Where this one ends, who knows?


    4. As long as Rutgers supports her she will survive. The TN coach litigation and the Louisville track associate coach litigation are of no consequence and was easily discovered as public information. The TN player issue is more of a mixed bag but the level of allegations from 16 years ago realistically is of little relevance today or of the position for which she has been hired. The handling should have been better and appears to have been totally unanticipated. Time to move forward if this is all they got.

  4. The media talks about how mean Julie was as a coach? Have they ever heard of Bobby Knight? I had a high school coach that absolutely belittled, benched, badgered and blasted me for four years. Because of it, I got a college scholarship. I thanked him at graduation. He told me that people have different buttons that need to be pushed to spur motivation. He found mine. What Hermann did is mild, compared to what some college coaches have done and still do to get players to perform.

  5. ESPN fan poll has 66% saying that Rutgers should look for a new A.D.


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