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Rutgers Univ. paid $70,000 to Atlanta-based Parker Executive Seach for the "background check that failed to uncover the accusations of verbal and emotional abuse from former volleyball players against " new AD Julie Hermann, according to a front-page piece by Keith Sargeant of the ASBURY PARK PRESS. The accusations came "less than a month after a report broke" that new RU men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan was "hired without having a degree, though Parker Executive Search was not involved in that hire." RU four years ago appointed Parker Executive Search for a "fee of $58,000 plus expenses to identify candidates for the AD position," with the results producing former AD Tim Pernetti, who resigned in April. According to the terms of the contract, Parker Executive Search "lowered its standard fee of $90,000 to $70,000, including out-of-pocket expenses, 'due to ongoing business' with Rutgers" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 5/30). In Newark, Kelly Heyboer in a front-page piece notes the "controversy over the appointment" of Hermann continued yesterday as e-mails "emerged showing infighting within the university over whether the new hire was properly vetted." RU officials revealed they are "paying a crisis communications firm $150,000 to help deal with the growing media scrutiny over the sports scandals that have engulfed the state university since early April." Committee member Ronald Garutti contends that the committee "never had the opportunity to properly screen Hermann." He said that the group "received the names of the two finalists along with their resumes and biographical material on a Sunday night." Half the search committee was "scheduled to interview both candidates for an hour each on Monday, while the other half of the committee would meet the finalists Tuesday" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/30).
SCARLET LETTERS: In N.Y., Steve Eder reports selection committee co-Chairs Kate Sweeney and Dick Edwards "wrote an e-mail Tuesday to the other committee members to defuse growing criticism of Hermann’s selection." They wrote, "You all had the opportunity to examine Julie’s credentials, to spend some time with her when she was on campus, and to provide us with your thoughts regarding her candidacy as Rutgers’s next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/30). Also in N.Y., O'Keeffe, Red, Armstrong & Vinton report some "critics of the school's selection process are calling for the return" of Pernetti. New Jersey State Sen. and RU alumnus Raymond Lesniak said, "You fix this by asking Julie Hermann to go back to her job at Louisville and bring back Tim Pernetti." Lesniak said Pernetti was "the 'scapegoat' for the school's inadequate policies regarding abusive behavior" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/30).
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: In Newark, Mike Vorkunov reported the "latest incident has done little to bring finality to what has been a looming question" for High Point Solutions co-Founder Tom Mendiburu. His company pays $6.5M per year for RU's football stadium naming rights, and the question is "whether the company will try to get out of its contract." Mendiburu has "yet to meet President Robert Barchi during his nine month tenure." He also has "yet to speak with Hermann nor was he at all consulted" during the search to hire her. Mendiburu said, "I love the university. I love the people there. There's obviously some people at the top that need to be addressed. I'm hopeful that things will be addressed and we can move forward" (NJ.com, 5/29).
Univ. of Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano yesterday said that he "made the decision to part ways" with AD Mike Bohn and "now wants to take the department in a new direction," according to Kyle Ringo of the Boulder DAILY CAMERA. DiStefano said that his "new way forward is one in which the athletic department will be run more like a business and be headed by someone with experience in running a large operation." Bohn will be "paid $918,000 in three payments over the next 18 months under the terms of a separation agreement." Ringo notes DiStefano "refused to delve into the specifics behind his decision to change ADs saying he is prohibited from discussing personnel issues." He hopes to fill the position "by late summer or early in the fall." DiStefano said, "As we approach a budget of $50 to $60 million and see that growing each year, I want to make sure we have an AD who will run the athletic department like a business since we are a big business but also have as a No. 1 priority fundraising not just for the facilities we need for football but fundraising for other issues as well." DiStefano said that he plans to "cast a wide net for Bohn's successor." He added that the next AD "could come from a successful career in the business world and does not necessarily require a background in intercollegiate athletics or higher education" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 5/30). The AP's Pat Graham reported CU also will give Bohn "season tickets to various Buffaloes sporting events for life." DiStefano said that the funds for Bohn's payout will "come out of athletic department revenues, not from taxpayer dollars or tuition" (AP, 5/29).
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS? The Boulder DAILY CAMERA's Ringo writes D-I athletic departments are "multi-million dollar businesses and trying to run them with any other mindset is a recipe for failure." It was "odd to hear from DiStefano because the bureaucracy he oversees has been getting in the way of the athletic department for years in tandem with the president's office in Denver." Ringo: "I'm not buying that is suddenly going to change just because the chancellor seems to be open to the idea of hiring a successful businessman or woman to lead the department in the future." It also was "odd Wednesday listening to the chancellor talk about the big business of college athletics when he was part of the CU administration that fought against that exact perception of college athletics during the recruiting scandal surrounding the CU football program back in 2004 and 2005." Ringo: "We'll find out in the very near future how serious DiStefano is about changing the approach to one that is more business-oriented. How do we know that? Because a big business wouldn't dillydally once it started the ball rolling in this direction" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 5/30).
The addition of the Univ. of Missouri to the SEC last season was the "key factor" in the conference's men's basketball tournament choosing St. Louis' Scottrade Center as its '17 host, according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. St. Louis will become the "farthest northern city to host" the tournament. Sources said that in addition to '17, the SEC "already has accepted bids" for the '18 and '20 tournaments. Those are "expected to be awarded" to Tampa ('18) and Atlanta ('20). Meanwhile, Nashville Sports Council President & CEO Scott Ramsey said that if the SEC is "looking for a regular home for its men's basketball tournament ... Nashville, Tenn., is ready." Ramsey said Nashville "would pursue it aggressively and host the tournament as many times as they will allow." Ramsey "believes Bridgestone Arena would be a perfect site" to become the "primary" host of the tournament (ESPN.com, 5/29). In St. Louis, Dave Matter reports a contingent of SEC officials in March "visited Scottrade Center for the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament to scout the city and the facility." St. Louis Sports Commission President Frank Viverito yesterday said that his organization and the SEC have been in "close contact for six months." The MVC tourney "typically is held a week before the SEC tournament, so there should be no conflict should Scottrade host both events." The MVC tournament is "contracted to be held in St. Louis" through '15 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/30). In Nashville, Jaquetta White reports the Nashville Sports Council will "follow up with the SEC next week to discuss details of the exploration plan, including how the SEC will accept bids for open years and whether any city with a school participating in the conference will be able to vie for it" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/30).
SINGING THE BLUES: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey wrote it would be "odd ... for the nicest basketball-specific building in the Southeastern Conference's footprint to never get patronized by the SEC." But that is what "appears likely, at least for the near future." Nashville seems to be the "likely candidate" to become the tournament's primary host, "certainly not Memphis and FedExForum." Memphis "last hosted" the SEC tournament in '97 (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 5/29).