Not all of our wide-ranging interview with Rutgers athletic director made the print publication. Here are a few more extras:
NJBIZ: Let's talk about the facilities. A lot has been going on. What's the long-term play here?
Julie Hermann: We want to gradually get into the business of providing better facilities for the sports that desperately need them. We've done a lot to make the RAC hotter, more fun to play in. There's going to be a running dialogue about all the facilities with any constituent that could be open to improving a facility. I'm a facility person, I come from a place (Louisville) that built a half a billion dollars worth of facilities on our campus and downtown.
We're putting more bells and whistles in so there can be a better show. You virtually have an executive producer running a script so that there's a game and a show between the game making certain our fan base is having a better time and that we are reaching a larger demographic.
NJBIZ: Is it hard to get money for facilities during these current economic times - or hard to justify spending money on facilities during tough times?
JH: I would argue it goes in waves. Part of why we are seeing such a rebirth of facility building is because we built a lot of these things in the 50's 60's and 70's. Well, 50 years later, a lot of them need to be updated. We went through a wave where we finally decided to compete to women's athletics so we had to build a lot of softball stadiums, a lot of practice facilities. As we provided more opportunities, we've had to build more. We're in a time period where sports is our national hobby. Now we're in a sports facilities building boom because our fans want to put discretionary dollars there. I was just at Louisville. In 2007 and 2008, I watched us build a 250 million arena during the crash. It was the only thing that got built during the crash.
RELATED: Big Ten, big bucks: Rutgers' conference switch brings more revenue opportunities (A Q&A with Julie Hermann, Rutgers' athletic director)
NJBIZ: You talk about selling a show, how do you sell these new opponents. Nothing against Purdue, but a lot of people may not even know what state it is in, how do you sell Rutgers-Purdue in any sport?
JH: Part of our responsibility is to educated our state on all things Big Ten. Syracuse and UConn could come to town in jai alai and we'd sell out because we want to beat those guys. This is a chance to establish all new rivals across the sports spectrum. You're introducing the state of New Jersey the strength of the Big Ten. If you've got a 9 years old that plays baseball or a 10 year old that plays lacrosse, you can now go an hour and see some of the finest athletes in that sports. It's a chance for them to see this and to learn new teams. There are all new matchups all new rivalries, all new opportunities to introduce to our fan base.
NJBIZ: But will they be good games? Competition in the Big Ten is a step up ... or two?
JH: Football is going to come in ready to compete. I believe that. The strongest sport is women's volleyball. It's some of the greatest women's volleyball competition in the world. it's off the charts. it's a spectacle. We've got a lot to work to do in volleyball. This is my third time in conference expansion. Part of my job is to constantly be in review, see where we line up. We've got a volleyball program that is going to go into the toughest league in the nation. And it's not just No. 1, it's No. 1 by several miles. That's going to be tough on them. But you can't let it knock you off, you need to lay the bricks and take the first step up.
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