Rutgers announced Wednesday that head football coach Kyle Flood has been suspended three games and fined $50,000 after a university investigation found he violated school policies in contacting and meeting with a professor regarding the academic standing of a student-athlete.
University president Robert Barchi announced that the investigation — which has been going for weeks — found that Flood emailed a professor regarding the grade of former football player Nadir Barnwell and later organized an in-person meeting with the same professor despite knowing those actions to be in violation of university policies.
According to the university’s release, Flood’s actions did not constitute academic misconduct, even though there were descriptions of his providing grammatical and minor editorial suggestions to Barnwell’s submitted paper, the subject of the discussion.
Rutgers is also in the process of determining whether there were any NCAA violations committed by Flood.
The report, which can be viewed in its entirety here, contains copies of the emails between Flood and the professor, as well as a transcript of a phone conversation between Flood and an academic advisor which indicate Flood attempted to make sure these communications were never discovered.
In the original email from Flood to the professor, who was unnamed in the report, Flood wrote: “I am sending it from my personal email to your personal email to ensure there will be no public vetting of the correspondence.” In the telephone conversation with the advisor, Flood was told, “Coach, you can’t have contact with the professor. You certainly can’t have contact with faculty regarding grades or eligibility. This is going to be a big problem.” Flood told the advisor, “This conversation stays between you and me,” to which the advisor responded, “We never had this conversation. … I want no part of this.”
This line is also in the report: “Coach Flood told the professor that he purposely didn’t wear any Rutgers apparel or insignia so he wouldn’t be recognized in public, meeting with the professor.”
Barchi said in his statement:
“Based on what we know now, it is clear to me that coach Flood had inappropriate communications with the faculty member in violation of an established policy. The policy is well-known among staff in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Coach Flood is specifically tasked with knowing both NCAA and our institutional policies regarding these issues. Simply, coach Flood has no excuse for not knowing the rule and following it.
“For his violations of university policy, I have suspended coach Flood for three consecutive games of inter-collegiate competition effective immediately. I also have imposed a fine of $50,000.
“I believe that the discipline is severe and justified for his failure to follow policy. I met with coach Flood (on Wednesday) afternoon and informed him of the suspension and the fine, and he has accepted responsibility for his actions and my discipline. As a member of the faculty and as a former provost myself, I know that coach Flood’s actions in communicating with the faculty member crossed a line that all faculty hold dear. Our faculty must have complete independence in executing their duties and there is a reason why we prohibit athletics coaching staff from discussing the academic standing of students with faculty. We have policies in place to protect academic integrity and to ensure that any faculty member, whether tenured or untenured, whether full-time or part-time, is free of intimidation and interference by outside parties.”
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Flood will miss the next three games: the Big Ten opener this weekend against Penn State, a non-conference game against Kansas and an Oct. 10 matchup with current No. 4 Michigan State. Assistant head coach Norries Wilson will assume head-coaching duties during those three games. Only on game days is Flood suspended, and he is still allowed to attend practices and carry on his duties during the week.
Flood released his own statement in the wake of the announcement of the suspension, stating his commitment to the academic success of his players.
Rutgers athletics director Julie Hermann released this statement Wednesday:
“I know coach Flood understands the severity of his transgressions, and I am fully supportive of President Barchi’s decision to impose a suspension and a significant fine. All of us must use this as an opportunity to grow as coaches, administrators and staff. We have been in the process of instituting additional compliance training as it relates to university policies on athletic-faculty communication and continue to enhance our documentation of all compliance-related meetings. I have full confidence in coach Norries Wilson to lead our team for the next three games, and we will continue to provide the support necessary to enable our student-athletes to achieve success.”
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The conclusion of the investigation is the latest in a seeming never-ending stream of negative headlines for this Rutgers program.
Flood suspended several players for the first half of the season-opener for a curfew violation. Then, days before the opener, five players were arrested — four charged with assault and one charged in connection with a home invasion and burglary. Those players were dismissed moments before the season kicked off. One of those players was Barnwell, the player in the middle of the investigation into Flood. Another player, a walk on, was arrested and dismissed last week. And just after Saturday's game against Washington State, star wide receiver Leonte Carroo was arrested and charged with assault after his involvement in an altercation. Carroo is indefinitely suspended.
And now, Flood is suspended, as well.