NCAA BK

Report: Hermann linked to 2008 suit

Image: Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann (© Mel Evans/AP)
Julie Hermann quit as Tennessee's women's volleyball coach 16 years ago.
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The saga surrounding Julie Hermann's hiring as the athletic director at Rutgers University added a new wrinkle late Tuesday.

Already under scrutiny for allegations she was abusive as a volleyball coach at Tennessee in the 1990s, a new report says Hermann is a key figure in a sex discrimination suit that began in 2008 while she served as a senior athletics administrator at Louisville.

In that suit, former Louisville assistant track and field coach Mary Banker is said to have approached Hermann about sexist behavior and "discriminatory treatment" from the team's head coach, according to The New York Times.

After Banker voiced her concerns to Hermann at a brunch, Hermann thanked her and later sent an email that read “Thank you ... We’re lucky to have you ... You’re a change agent ... don’t let their limitations take you out of the game ... thank god you’re here,” according to legal filings cited in the report.

The trouble reportedly came when Banker took her concerns to human resources. She contends she was fired three weeks later. Banker's attorney says “Hermann called Banker into her office and flat-out told her, ‘You should not have gone to HR'” and that “I don’t know how I’m going to restore trust in you amongst staff now.”

Banker was awarded $300,000 in damages, along with $71,875 in lost wages and $149,325 in legal fees, but a Kentucky appelate court has since overturned the decision.

Her lawyer is now trying to take the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court, according to the Times.

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