Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann on Wednesday met with the family of a former football player who left the team after claiming a coach bullied him and then limited his playing time.
Hermann had a meeting with parents of Jevon Tyree to clarify misunderstandings and resolve the issues relating to Tyree’s experience as a student-athlete at Rutgers University.
The state university of New Jersey also announced Wednesday that the school’s general counsel, John Farmer Jr., will review the incident and any subsequent actions taken by the athletics department.
Clarice and Mark Tyree were accompanied at the meeting by the Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, at their meeting with Hermann.
The university said the interests of the student-athlete were central to their conversation.
Hermann did not issue any comment in the statement released by Rutgers after the meeting. A telephone call to the Tyree family on Wednesday night went unanswered.
The meeting between Hermann and the family seemed necessary after the two sides had conflicting stories about whether Hermann spoke to them when they recently asked to discuss his role with the team and how coaching decisions were made.
Hermann said she had talked to Mark Tyree by telephone. He said that never happened.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood previously said the university will honor the scholarship for Jevon Tyree for the balance of the 2013-2014 academic year. In addition, he will receive academic support to help ensure his success while a student.
Tyree left the team on Nov. 6 after alleging that defensive coordinator Dave Cohen coach verbally abused him and threatened to head-butt him during a spring study hall session. The player said the assistant then treated him unfairly once the season started.
The spring incident took place in front of teammates and an academic adviser, who reported it at a time when Rutgers was under national scrutiny following the release of videotapes showing then-basketball coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing his players while yelling homophobic slurs.
Rice was fired and athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced to resign along with a leading university attorney. Hermann was selected to replace him, but not until surviving alleging that she verbally and emotionally abused volleyball players while the coach at the University of Tennessee.
A day after the football incident, Flood said he summoned Cohen to his office and reprimanded him. Tyree said Cohen limited his playing time since the incident, and his decision to leave the team came after a wide receiver was moved to defensive back to help an injury-riddled secondary instead of letting him play.
The university said that Mark Tyree contacted Hermann six months later to discuss his son’s situation. During the conversation with Hermann, Tyree’s father reintroduced the March situation the university said.
Hermann then talked to Flood, who apprised her of the situation and how it was addressed.
The university said that Flood initiated an additional meeting with Tyree and his parents to address their concerns and his future with the team. The following morning, September 17, Tyree informed Flood of his intention to remain with the program.
Hermann spoke to Tyree’s father following the meeting with Flood and confirmed that the matter was resolved to his satisfaction, the university said.
Mark Tyree told nj.com that he has never spoken to Hermann and that his family initiated the additional meetings with Flood.
Hermann told New Jersey Press Media on Saturday that she is sorry that Mark Tyree does not remember talking to her. She added that the issue was resolved before she was hired.
When asked if anyone was lying about the alleged discussion she had with Tyree she said: “It’s not Rutgers athletics.”
After a loss to Cincinnati this past weekend, Rutgers players defended Cohen.
“I never felt bullied by him,” linebacker Steve Longa said. He got on me a bunch of times, but there was no bullying,” Longa said. “He’s going to push you to be your best.”