First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:

If the Big Ten Conference is going to continue to stand by its plan to bring Rutgers into the fold next year, then its members must be gluttons for ridicule.

In the aftermath of scandals at two of its signature institutions — Penn State and Ohio State — Big Ten administrators, coaches and alums are watching Rutgers answer to another round of forehead-slapping ineptitude.

The school hired Julie Hermann to be its athletic director May 15 only to find out through a report in the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger over the weekend that her closet apparently contains an immense skeleton.

During her six-season stint as volleyball coach at Tennessee in the mid-1990s, Hermann was accused by her players of calling them “whores” and “alcoholics” and “learning disabled.” All 15 members of the 1996 team signed a letter outlining Hermann’s vindictive, abusive approach and submitted it to the athletic director. Hermann later resigned after a team meeting she now can’t recall.

Hermann also was the focus of a 1997 lawsuit in which a former Volunteers assistant coach received a $150,000 settlement. The assistant claimed she was fired by Hermann because she became pregnant.

According to the newspaper, school officials didn’t question Hermann about the lawsuit during her interview and were unaware of the damning letter until it surfaced following her hiring.

The intense irony here is that Hermann got the Rutgers job — and appears in line to keep it — mainly because her predecessor was forced out for his poor handling of former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice, whose over-the-top physical and verbal abuse of players was captured on video and aired on ESPN. Former AD Tim Pernetti stepped down in early April because he initially fined and suspended Rice for three games after seeing the video.

Rutgers subsequently hired alum Eddie Jordan as men’s basketball coach only to learn that, contrary to his official school bio, he didn’t have a college degree.

A sadly comical footnote to all this is that Hermann’s name reportedly wasn’t on a list of candidates submitted by the head-hunting firm that was retained by the school. In other words, Rutgers paid for insight it chose to ignore.

All this happened on the watch of Rutgers president Robert Barchi, who never saw the video of Rice kicking, grabbing and throwing basketballs at his players until it was too late and who vowed to find an athletic director who fit his vision.

When the Rice scandal came to light, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said it would have “no impact’’ on the school joining the league along with Maryland in 2014.

Except that it did then and it does now. Everyone in the Big Ten has little choice but to share in Rutgers’ shame.

WHEN A VOW ISN’T A PROMISE: When the University of Wisconsin football team hosts Western Illinois in 2014, it will be the last time a Football Championship Subdivision opponent shows up on the schedule, right?

“Yeah,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said recently, referencing a Big Ten policy calling for no more FCS opponents.

But wait. Alvarez quickly noted that the inventory of Football Bowl Subdivision non-conference opponents will shrink and the price of guarantees will go up.

“I think we should have a little leeway if you absolutely can’t fill your schedule with (FBS) opponents,” he said. “You’ve got to have a little understanding that, ‘Hey, we’re trying (and) we’ve done everything we can, (but) we’ve got to go buy a game (vs. an FCS opponent).’ ”

THREE-STROKE PENALTY: Just when it looked like the Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia feud might make golf interesting, Garcia went out and carded a permanent triple bogey. He got cocky, said something stupid and racist, and forever relinquished the upper hand.

Contact Andy Baggot at abaggot@madison.com or

608-252-6175.

Covers University of Wisconsin hockey and football.

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(9) comments

BobsYourUncle
BobsYourUncle

Phoning it again, huh, Baggot! How about an article about something a bit closer to home. How about taking Barry to the woodshed regarding his cancelling of the concessions contract? Or would that cause you to lose your status as Barry's biggest arse kisser? Well, Oates seems to have grown a slightly bigger pair in the last year. Maybe he'll lambaste Barry over his never ending money grab!!

Badger921
Badger921

Is someone forever barred from holding a position in their field for a mistake made more than a decade ago? Shall we bar ex-cons from ever having gainful employment? Andy Baggot is a worthless reporter who wouldn't know a story if he found one.

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Do we do away with the "bye" week? What the heck do colleges need a bye week for, the season is so short, fill the calendar and the stadiums when you can! Leave the lady alone, like Barry is without a fault or two or ???

Smoke31
Smoke31

Christ Baggot, nobody freaking cares about Rutgers' management issues. It's a nice little space-filler for the 24/7 sports news cycle, will be forgotton soon, and won't have any long-term impact whatsoever on the Big Ten's image.

And yes, Andy, we're all aware by now that you have a spotless record as a flawless social crusader - you don't have to keep going out of your way to call out every connection between the sports world and racism or homophobia. You've proved your point - you're against racism and homophobia (just like the vast majority of people are) - we get it, we all acknowledge you're a hero, congratulations, it's OK to stay off your soapbox every once in a while.

Runrunrun
Runrunrun

Rutgers and Maryland bring nothing to the BT except NY and Wash DC market exposure. But any media frog worth his weight will tell you that the NYC and DC markets are not college media markets, they are pro markets. Just pu any day of the NY Times or Washington Post there is virtually no college sports coverage. So Delany's media coup is false. Jettison both of these two schools immediately. If that is done we stay at 12 add a ninth or 10th conference game which eases the scheduling problems.

Native
Native

Let us all get over it: there ain't no Big Ten no more. They added Penn, Nebraska, then Maryland and Rutgers ... and the ONLY reason is money from TV, not for sports.

Even sadder? We are no longer in the WCHA, because ol' Barry et al think we need a Big Ten hockey league. Guess what? Ain't enough non-pushover teams in the Big Ten, so we get to see real WCHA teams this year. Not clear how much longer, though.

MadCityYokal
MadCityYokal

Sad, sad, truth, Native. I am mourning the loss of the WCHA.

Money wins once again.

pjh16
pjh16

YO Bags....the El Nino never had and never will the upper hand against El Tigre....

number6
number6

I believe people can change, that they can learn and grow. If she acts now as she did then, fine, dump her. Otherwise, one less stone to cast.

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