After Sports-Bra Outrage, Rowan’s Athletics Chief is Out
By Jack Stripling JUNE 05, 2019
After 43 years at Rowan U. as a coach and administrator, Dan Gilmore is retiring. His departure follows the completion of a human-resources investigation that was triggered by gender-equity complaints.
Months after charges of sexism and bullying roiled Rowan University’s athletics department, Dan Gilmore will retire as athletics director, the president announced on Wednesday.
Ali A. Houshmand, Rowan’s president, said in a statement that Gilmore’s retirement, after 43 years at Rowan as a coach and administrator, follows the completion of a human-resources investigation that was triggered by gender-equity complaints.
Joe Cardona, a spokesman for the university, said in an email that “Dan was not asked to retire.” He would not expound, however, on whether Gilmore could have stayed on if he had wanted to do so.
“We don’t publicly discuss personnel matters,” Cardona wrote.
Gilmore did not immediately respond to an email and phone message seeking comment.
John Giannini, founding director of Rowan’s Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact and a former basketball coach, has been named interim athletic director, effective immediately.
Rowan, a public university in New Jersey that is just south of Philadelphia, entered the national spotlight this past fall, when female athletes complained that they had been banned from wearing sports bras without shirts because their bodies distracted men on the football team.
A student’s blog post about the ban sparked international outrage, as some readers accused the university of promoting “rape culture.” Under siege, the university said that there would be no restrictions on sports bras going forward.
A Chronicle investigation of the incident, based on public records, interviews, and secret audio recordings, suggested deeper problems within the athletics department. Students and employees accused Gilmore of bullying, and some of his tirades were captured on audio.
Sports-Bra Outrage and a Fight Over Everyday Sexism
There were concerns about other athletics employees, too. A Title IX inquiry found that Jay Accorsi, the head football coach, was not credible in an interview with an investigator that focused on his complaints about the sports bras and an inappropriate comment made by a member of his team.
The investigation also found that Gilmore and Penny Kempf, the associate athletics director, failed to report potentially harassing or discriminatory behavior to the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Cardona would not say whether any employees had been disciplined but said that Accorsi and Kempf “remain in their positions for the foreseeable future.”
The Title IX investigation, despite raising concerns about the department’s handling of complaints, concluded that the sports-bra episode did not constitute a violation of the federal gender-equity law.
An external consultant’s review of Rowan’s athletics department is expected to be completed by the end of June.
Jack Stripling covers college leadership, particularly presidents and governing boards. Follow him on Twitter @jackstripling, or email him at
Return to Top
Report: Rowan U. athletics must address gender inequities
by Kristen A. Graham and Susan Snyder, Updated: July 10, 2019
Rowan University’s administration must more tightly control its athletic department, remedy some gender equity issues, and address insufficient facilities, a report released Wednesday found.
The report, commissioned by the university and prepared by a consultant with expertise in collegiate athletics, follows a controversy at Rowan over a football coach’s attempt to stop female athletes from running in sports bras in an area where his players were practicing and a subsequent investigation by the Chronicle of Higher Education that described a department with deep problems and gender inequities. Athletes told the Chronicle that after the sports bra incident gained national attention, the women who spoke out were blamed by athletic administrators.
Cheryl L. Levick, author of the 30-page report, said that Rowan’s athletic director ought to report to president Ali A. Houshmand, not to a vice president. The present setup, she wrote, “could cause a lack of direct communication and insufficient oversight for the department of athletics.” She also recommended more day-to-day oversight of sports programs and the appointment of a “Senior Woman Administrator," as recommended by the NCAA.
Rowan ought to remedy the imbalance between men’s and women’s coaching positions, the report recommended. For some sports, men’s coaches are full-time and women’s coaches are not. And in some cases — soccer, for instance — men’s teams have more coaches than women’s teams. Further, some women’s team coaches have 10-month contracts, whereas coaches for men’s teams have 12-month contracts and higher salaries.
And in some cases, there are “real or perceived inequities between ‘like sports,’” Levick wrote — for instance, members of the men’s cross country team receive practice shoes every year; women on the cross country and track and field teams do not always receive practice shoes. Levick recommended that the department better monitor coaches and conduct an audit of the allocation of shoes and gear to prevent such incidents from occurring.
In general, the university ought to review and adjust for equity the number of coaches and salaries for men’s and women’s teams.
In some cases, Levick found, Rowan’s women’s teams lack adequate locker space to accommodate every player.
Levick found an overall lack of education and enforcement of departmental policies and procedures for the coaches and staff; she recommended annual education sessions. She also called for annual training for student athletes and coaches, including a section on sexual misconduct.
LOL at schools sharing facilities between the track/XC teams and the football team. Poor schools be crazy.
Boz scaggs wrote:
Too distracting wrote:
I started reading but got distracted by the picture of women in sports bras.
Yeah, typical. There's a new medical term for that. It's called neanderthal attention deficit disorder (NADD). This is why women outnumber men with doctoral degrees and other accomplishments that require complicated neural networks.
Women also outnumber men in general.
I feel it needs to be emphasized that this is Glasboro State. They can try to dress up the name and make it sound like a small private school, but it is and forever will be Glasboro State.
A Commitment to Progress
An update on initiatives underway in response to
Rowan University’s Athletics Department program review
July 10, 2019
Cheryl Levick, an independent consultant with extensive expertise in collegiate athletics program management, issued a comprehensive program review of Rowan’s Athletics Department. She reported her findings, analysis and recommendations regarding areas she identified as needing immediate attention, as well as policies and practices that would place the Athletics program on par with the best Division III programs in the nation. (See the program review report.)
At different points throughout her examination of the Athletics Department, the consultant provided feedback on perceived program gaps so the University could begin its work to address issues rather than wait until she concluded her report. Those items are highlighted below, along with other improvements that have either been implemented, are underway or will be evaluated in the fall.
About the Recommendations
The report offered recommendations in the following categories: organizational structure, budget, policies and procedures, facilities and Title IX issues. The University is addressing health and safety issues immediately and has begun to address areas such as staff reorganizations and adopting new policies and procedures, a process that will continue during the next several weeks and into the fall. Longer-term investments will be considered alongside other institutional priorities.
Below is a summary of the recommendations and progress being made.
The report listed 14 recommendations about the organizational structure of the Athletics Department.
Initiatives implemented or to be implemented immediately:
● The Athletics Department now reports directly to the Office of the President, with the
interim athletic director reporting to the senior vice president for Administration on
● The associate athletic director, Penny Kempf, already serves as the senior woman’s
administrator (SWA), but immediate changes to policies and procedures will allow her to
more effectively monitor expenses and departmental decisions to ensure equity.
● We will conduct a search for a senior-level administrator to focus on student-athlete
welfare, sport oversight and to assist with overall decision-making.
● We will hire one full-time athletic trainer, with a second position under consideration for
later this academic year. The addition of two athletic trainers will give Rowan five, the
highest staffing level in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
● We will upgrade four part-time assistant coach positions for women’s sports to full-time.
● We will hire a strength-and-conditioning specialist to work with all athletes.
● The equipment manager’s responsibilities will be broadened to enable that individual to
manage all purchases and distribution of team apparel (i.e., shoes, uniforms, training gear).
● Human Resources is reviewing all position titles, associated descriptions/responsibilities and salaries (AFT classifications/union contracts) to ensure equity.
● We will enhance professional and leadership development training.
Items to Review this Academic Year
● We will examine staff positions to determine which can be expanded to include oversight of
individual teams. Spreading this critical function among several managers will allow for better overall management.
Although the report was complimentary about budget management, the consultant made 16 recommendations, most related to policies and procedures.
Initiatives implemented or to be implemented immediately:
● Create a multi-person approval process for all expenditures and for filing of NCAA and U.S.
Department of Education Equity in Athletic Data Analysis reports.
● Review staffing and budget levels for each sport.
● Implement an annual audit process.
● Start budget planning, in a more collaborative manner, in November for the following
● Update policy and procedures manual.
Athletics Policies & Procedures
There were six recommendations, including four about aspects of the policy and procedures manual.
Initiatives to be implemented this fall:
● Expand the student-athlete annual code-of-conduct training, including sexual misconduct
and bystander engagement training components. The training will be offered in a group
setting with all athletes, followed by team sessions with the SWA and AD present.
● Coach/staff fiscal training will include policy and procedures related to approvals for team
account spending from the SWA and AD.
● Updated financial budgeting and approval processes, including spending of departmental
funds, will now require approval of an individual sport supervisor.
There were six recommendations regarding facilities. The following initiatives are underway.
● Expansion of the weight room and related storage area, which will be completed by
● This summer, the University will place an office trailer at the West Campus practice fields
that will have water, restrooms, meeting space and room for athletic trainers to care for
● Reassign office space this summer to achieve equity.