Penn State has a new athletic director, the first of the post-Sandusky era. But Sandy Barbour comes with some baggage of her own: She was reportedly forced out as Cal’s athletic director amid questions about the football team’s graduation rate and the poor performance of her choice for football coach, Sonny Dykes.
Despite her recent departure from Cal , Penn State president Eric Barron called Barbour the “clear choice, first choice” after her decade-long tenure in Berkeley.
“Sandy is an excellent fit for Penn State and the Big Ten,” Barron said in a statement. “She stood out among a highly qualified pool of candidates. I am excited by her energy, her experience and her knowledge of intercollegiate athletics. I look forward to working with her to further strengthen Penn State’s rich athletics tradition and student-athlete success.”
Barbour’s contract (PDF) is a five-year agreement that will pay her an annual salary of $700,000.
Barbour is the first woman to lead Penn State’s athletic department, and will be just the second woman to lead an athletic department in the Big Ten. Rutgers’ athletic department is currently headed by Julie Hermann.
Penn State hasn’t hired a woman to fill a senior leadership position in at least a decade, with the exception of Cynthia Baldwin, the school’s one-time general counsel. Her tenure, as many Penn State faithful know, was marked by her bizarre involvement in the criminal cases of three Penn State administrators charged in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.