The Face of College Athletics

May 20, 2013 by Laurie Bollig

In 1988 I began a career in college athletics. My bosses were men. Most of my peers were men. There were almost no females in higher positions, and they didn’t have responsibilities that involved men’s sports. Such was the face of college sports at the time.

Twenty-five years later, times have changed. Sort of. There are more women in college sports administration, but the absence of women in senior-level positions remains virtually unchanged.

While Title IX guarantees that our daughters get similar access as our sons to extracurricular activities in college, there are no such guarantees that women will be given equal access to jobs typically reserved for men, like athletics directors and conference commissioners.

That’s why when Rutgers hired Julie Hermann as its director of athletics last week - making her one of only three females currently serving as ADs at the NCAA’s highest level - the collective exhale of women in athletics could be heard around the country.

I don’t know Hermann personally, but I know what has been happening at the University of Louisville since she’s been part of the athletic administration. Unprecedented success. Many of her peers and the man she reported to - athletics director Tom Jurich - give Hermann much of the credit for the Cardinals’ revival.

There’s no doubt Hermann earned her promotion to director of athletics at Rutgers. She’s got a big job waiting for her in Piscataway - repairing the athletic department’s reputation at the same time as building a competitor in the Big Ten Conference. In the process she will be the role model young women in athletics administration will look to for help in changing the face of college athletics.