New Rutgers AD Julie Hermann defends herself over allegations that she fired former assistant for getting pregnant
Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann was hired earlier this month and given the responsibility of repairing the reputation of the Scarlet Knights. Former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has left a major stain on the program after videos surfaced of him physically and verbally abusing his players, and the scandal resulted in the firing of former AD Tim Pernetti.
As it turns out, Hermann’s record isn’t exactly squeaky clean. The former head volleyball coach at Tennessee lost a lawsuit in 1997 that alleged she discouraged one of her assistant coaches, Ginger Hineline, from getting pregnant. According to the New Jersey Press Media, Hineline claimed she was a victim of employment discrimination when she was fired in 1996 because of her pregnancy.
Hermann still denies the accusation, but a video of some comments she made at Hineline’s wedding in 1994 surfaced over the weekend that seems to support Hineline’s claim.
“So, I’m very proud of you, I’m very happy for you, I love you very much, I’m very excited about this day,” Hermann said on the tape. “I hope it’s good tonight because I know you’ve been waiting awhile but I hope it’s not too good but I don’t want you to come back in February with any surprises, you know, in the office and all, and it would be hard to have a baby in there and babysitting. Well, actually I wouldn’t mind it so much but I don’t know. Anyway, have a great honeymoon. I love you. Hope it went well. See you soon.”
According to the Star-Ledger, Hermann said in an interview last week that she didn’t remember attending Hineline’s wedding 19 years ago and denied the existence of the video you see above.
“There’s a video?” she asked. “I’m sorry did you say there’s a video?”
A reporter then told her about the wedding clip that had been posted on NJ.com.
“There’s no video, trust me,” Hermann insisted. “I’ve been managing people for 25 years, and through the course of 25 years (managing) hundreds of student-athletes and coaches, and unfortunately there are occasions in which, unfortunately, some of those dialogues ended up being litigated. It was litigated. And while I do not agree with the outcome, it’s already been litigated and there’s really nothing else to comment on.”
It looks like Rutgers can’t catch a break. Just when they try to rid themselves of anyone involved with the mess that Rice left behind, a video surfaces that adds fuel to a fire that started burning in the mid-1990s. Hermann lost the case in 1997 anyway, so the most the video can do is prove that she’s a liar. While there likely will not be any more legal implications, the last thing Rutgers needs is the character of its new AD being called into question.