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Governor Chris Christie supports Rutgers President Robert Barchi, avoids commenting on Julie Hermann hire

May 28, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

Julie Hermann AP

It hasn’t been a good week for Rutgers since hiring new athletic director Julie Hermann from Louisville.

Quickly, allegations came out that she inflicted “mental cruelty” as the Tennessee volleyball coach, followed by Tuesday afternoon when the New York Times reported she was part of a sexual discrimination lawsuit in 2008.

Despite the circus surrounding a hire that was suppose bring Rutgers out from under the Mike Rice scandal, Rutgers President Robert Barchi was given “complete confidence” by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

On Tuesday night, during his monthly call-in show on 105.1 WKXW, Christie answered questions about Barchi’s leadership of the state’s university, but seemed to deflect questions about the hire of Hermann.

“I have absolute confidence in Bob Barchi,” Christie said. “I think he is the right man for the job and he has my complete confidence and support.

“I don’t know Julie Hermann,” Christie continued. “I have never met Julie Hermann. I have never spoken to Julie Hermann. I wasn’t involved in her recruiting or her vetting or anything else, as I should not be. I’m the governor of New Jersey. I’m not the recruiter for Rutgers University. My point on all this is: Let Rutgers handle this. Past mistakes by Rutgers has led to this intense media attention and I understand that and I don’t argue with it.”

Christie responded to another call, again avoiding any sort of comment on the Hermann hire.

“Not my call,” Christie said. “I’m confident in President Barchi’s judgment. I’m confident in the judgment of [Board] Chairman Ralph Izzo and the Board of Governors and I’m confident in the judgment of the general counsel, John Farmer. All three of whom I spoke to this weekend in great detail multiple times and at the end of those conversations my position is very clear.”

“My job is not to run Rutgers,” Christie added. “That’s the job of the board of governors and President Barchi and the general counsel, John Farmer, all of whom I have respect for. These are their decisions. They decided to hire (new basketball coach) Eddie Jordan. They decided to hire Julie Hermann. And now they have to deal with the questions that are being raised.”

President Barchi can sleep easy knowing that he has the support of the governor, but this fallout from the recent hire of Julie Hermann doesn’t appear to be over.


Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

  1. mogogo1 - May 29, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Even by politicians’ standards those were some amazing comments in terms of double-speak and faint praise. Note how he gives Barchi his complete backing while simultaneously making it clear he doesn’t run Rutgers, thus negating any real influence his support might otherwise have? Masterful. This is the equivalent of ownership fully backing a coach just before firing him.

  2. tomtravis76 - May 29, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    Was the Rice situation really worse than what Hermann did to her players?

    If Hermann were a man, I think that person would have been run out of town once all of this information surfaced.

    • mogogo1 - May 29, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      I’ll go one further than that… If Hermann was a man, the hire never happens in the first place. The first sniff of a past scandal or lawsuit would have been enough to knock a guy out of the running for the job. But Barchi and the dopes working for him got it in their heads that being the only Big 10 school with a female AD was a PR home run, so they got fixated on her and either didn’t check her out at all or ignored anything negative they did find.

  3. desal2ds - May 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    The problem is the president. What a dope. How does this guy get a pass at everything? Thank god I’m not an alum of Rutgers. They have become a joke

  4. ndrick731 - May 30, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Boo hoo the new ad yelled at her players. What the hell is wrong with today’s players. I got yelled at like that in CYO basketball. Talk about lack of mental toughness.

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