Rutgers University has fired its athletics director and head football coach, the institution’s president announced in a statement released on Sunday afternoon, confirming reports published earlier in the day by NJ Advance Media and other news sites.
In his statement, the president, Robert L. Barchi, said he had met with the athletics director, Julie Hermann, and the coach, Kyle J. Flood, on Sunday and had informed them that he “was exercising the university’s right to terminate their contracts without cause” and “relieving them of their duties, effective immediately.”
He thanked both for their service, but said issues on and off the field had convinced him that the football program needed new leadership and that Rutgers athletics needed “a fresh start.” Dr. Barchi said he had concluded that, under those circumstances, it would be unfair to Ms. Hermann for her to continue as athletics director.
Rutgers chose Ms. Hermann as athletics director in May 2013, as the university was dealing with the fallout from a scandal that led to the firing of its head men’s basketball coach. But Ms. Hermann’s appointment quickly became controversial, as reports surfaced of allegations made against her by players she had coached at the University of Tennessee and by an assistant coach there. Dr. Barchi, a neuroscientist who had just been appointed president of Rutgers the year before, stood by Ms. Hermann at the time.
But controversies involving Rutgers athletics have continued, including the arrests this year of several football players on home-invasion charges and a university investigation’s finding that Coach Flood had violated athletic-compliance policies.
Beyond issuing a statement in September, Ms. Hermann has not publicly spoken about the football-program controversies. According to NJ Advance Media, her contract states that she could be disciplined or terminated for cause if she was found to have violated NCAA rules or if she failed to report or take all reasonable means to prevent a violation of which she knew or reasonably should have known.
In his statement, Dr. Barchi also welcomed Patrick E. Hobbs, dean emeritus of the Seton Hall University School of Law, as athletics director, saying Rutgers had offered him the position on a permanent basis on Friday. The assistant head football coach, Norries Wilson, will serve as interim head coach.