Julie Hermann looks at future of athletics
The Rutgers University Student Assembly invited Richard Edwards, executive vice president of Academic Affairs, and Julie Hermann, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, to speak at last night’s meeting at the Student Activities Center. Hermann discussed the future of the Athletic Department while Edwards talked over student needs.
Hermann said it is an incredible privilege to lead an athletic department of this magnitude as it continues to grow and expand.
“It’s super fun for us to go around and recruit some of the top athletes, really, from around the world,” she said.
The beauty of joining the Big Ten is that all teams are arguably joining the toughest ranks in the nation in their sport.
“We have challenges ahead of us. … If I was predicting, I’d say we’re going to do some things that really surprise you, and we’re going to do some things that break your heart,” Hermann said.
Eight years from now, she wants Rutgers fans to be filled with pride, excited about the opportunities available to Rutgers athletes and full of excitement about an established and successful athletic program.
“It takes a massive village to make an incredible athletic department,” Hermann said.
Her passion is to create a phenomenal experience for students. She extended her gratitude to University President Robert L. Barchi for being “a non-stop champion” for providing amazing leadership, great insight and tremendous creativity.
Hermann said Barchi is committed to finding ways to reduce expenses and grow revenue, so the University will never again have to see the financial issues that characterized last year.
“We may not be perfect, but I think we’ll make you proud in that our students are absolutely taken care of,” she said.
Ian Wolf, elections committee chair of RUSA and School of Arts and Sciences senior, asked Hermann if graduate students can claim free student tickets, as well as what the Athletic Department is doing to attract young alumni to sporting events.
Hermann did not clarify the answer as to whether or not graduate students could claim free student tickets, but said the Athletic Department wants to cultivate young alumni and will find ways to support them.
Joe Cashin, student representative to the Board of Governors, asked Hermann whether the Athletic Department plans to be flexible with hiring coaches from outside Rutgers and New Jersey.
Hiring is one of the most important things she will do, she said, and she is willing to search nationally, and even internationally, for the best coaches in the world.
She responded to a couple of members of the volleyball team who asked about specific plans for nonprofit sports such as volleyball, which do not get as much attention as revenue sports like football and basketball.
“This isn’t about the money you bring in, this is about bringing opportunities for you,” Hermann said.
Though it is not all about the money, Hermann said putting money into football and basketball is necessary.
“When we put football in motion and make certain it’s in a good place, that starts a trickle effect which will get back to the rest of the family,” she said.
Richard Edwards, executive vice president of Academic Affairs, said the “RU Screw” is totally unacceptable.
Edwards is involved with the academic side of Rutgers joining the Big Ten. Moving into the Big Ten will enhance the University’s public prominence and will put Rutgers on the same page as other leading universities.
“No matter how we’re doing in a particular game, we’re going to be on TV for three to four hours,” he said.
In contrast, the Big East was a “mish mash” of small schools.
He wants students to be involved with the New Brunswick campus plan by attending open forums and town hall meetings to provide their input. He also hopes students will participate in the review of the initial draft report.
He said there should be a dining facility on the College Avenue campus that outshines the one on Livingston.
He also said the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus is an inadequate space, and there needs to be a new space large enough to accommodate the students.
“Short of the football stadium, we don’t really have a place that we can do much of anything. … and the football stadium isn’t really practical for most of the year,” Edwards said.
When Edwards opened it up and asked for student suggestions, Sam Clark, student affairs committee chair, suggested better lighting on the Cook and Douglass campuses because there is a long way to go before students can feel safe walking back from the library at night.