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Rutgers Athletic Director Hermann Bashes Newspaper

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. ― Rutgers University’s athletic director told a class earlier this year that it would be “great” if New Jersey’s largest newspaper went out of business.

The university said in a statement that Julie Hermann’s remarks to a media ethics and law class in February came before she knew about deep layoffs at The Star-Ledger. The newspaper’s parent company, Advance Publications, announced a reorganization last week that will result in layoffs for 300 employees at its website and newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including 170 at the Newark paper.

The Star-Ledger reported on her remarks Monday, citing a recording provided by a student.

“If they’re not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they’re not selling ads ― and they die,” Hermann said. “And the Ledger almost died in June, right?”

A student responded: “They might die again next month.”

“That would be great,” Hermann said. “I’m going to do all I can to not give them a headline to keep them alive.”

She also said one person at the newspaper has “one mission, that’s to get any AD at Rutgers fired.”

In a statement, Rutgers said Hermann’s statements were “intended to give the students some understanding of the challenges she has faced” and were not expected to be made public. She did not apologize.

The Newark newspaper was the first to report in May that she was accused of being verbally and emotionally abusive to volleyball players she coached at Tennessee in 1996.

At Rutgers, she replaced Tim Pernetti, who was forced to resign because of his handling of men’s basketball coach Mike Rice. Rice was fired a year ago after it came to light that he had verbally and physically abused players.

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