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Report: Rutgers Settles With Former Swim & Dive Coach Petra Martin For $725K

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Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media broke the news

Swimming Winter National Championships Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Rutgers reached a legal settlement with former swimming and diving head coach Petra Martin for $725,000, Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media reported Friday afternoon. Sargeant’s full report is here:

The amount that Rutgers is paying Martin through the settlement is more than three times what she was owed on the remainder of her contract, which was $227,000 per Sargeant’s original report from November 2017. Additional terms to the settlement were as follows, via Sargeant:

As part of the agreement with Martin and her attorneys, Rutgers was required to release a statement that publicly exonerated the coach 13 months after an NJ Advance Media report revealed a toxic culture within the swimming program, according to interviews with former swimmers and parents of athletes who were on the team.

In addition, Rutgers Athletics Director Patrick Hobbs was required to write a letter of recommendation for Martin as she seeks future employment.

In addition to the terms of the settlement, Rutgers released the following statement on Friday regarding this situation:

“Media reports ... incorrectly suggested that Coach Martin’s departure was the result of allegations of abuse made by a few former student-athletes and their parents. To the extent any such allegations were made, they were fully investigated by the University and found to be unsubstantiated.’’

Mike Rosenstein, the senior sports producer at the parent company of NJ.com responded with the following statement:

“NJ Advance Media stands behind our reporting. We were very familiar with the sourcing and the contents of the story when we published, as well as what we chose not to publish.’’

The original report by Sargeant and NJ Advance Media included interviews with multiple current members of the swim & dive team, who alleged that Martin bullied them. Martin publicly disputed the allegations made against her in an interview with Sargeant from May 2018, in which she stated she was fired. Rutgers had previously announced after the allegations were revealed that athletic director Pat Hobbs and Martin had “mutually agreed that it was in the best interest of the program for the coach to resign.”

Rutgers made this additional statement from Sargeant’s report on the settlement:

“Coach Martin worked to ensure the team’s continued academic success and consistently improved the team’s athletic performance during her tenure,’’ the statement read. “Rutgers appreciates Coach Martin’s work in building the Rutgers swimming and diving program, and her professionalism throughout this difficult process. Rutgers encourages other universities to give every consideration to Coach Martin’s candidacy as they fill future swimming head coaching positions and wishes Coach Martin the best in her future coaching roles.’’

All claims between the parties are now resolved.