NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — According to former Rutgers cornerback Jevon Tyreem, defensive coordinator Dave Cohen bullied him in April, which led Tyreem to quit the team earlier this month.
With more controversy surrounding Rutgers’ athletic program just months after the Mike Rice scandal, head coach Kyle Flood and linebacker Kevin Snyder have come to the program’s defense.
“We don’t have bullying in our program,” Snyder said, according to the New York Daily News. “We’re not in the basketball program. I’ve never seen anything at Rutgers that was abusive at all. I’ve seen coaches coaching players and obviously they are going to yell at you. That’s part of the game and you have to be tough enough to handle it and move past it. Some guys aren’t.”
Following the claims of bullying, Tyler Wiegers — a four-star quarterback from Michigan — de-committed from Rutgers, according to NJ.com.
And last month, Flood announced that former Rutgers cornerback Ian Thomas was leaving the team to play baseball at another school. But in an alarming twist to the story, Thomas told NJ.com that he left Rutgers because he was homesick — not because of baseball.
“I thought he would have been a quality player and a quality person for us,” Flood said, according to the Daily News. “In those discussions, the idea of him playing baseball in the future did come up, and at the end of the discussion, I asked Ian the question, ‘Are you OK leaving your team at this point in the season?’ And his response to me was, ‘Yes.'”
Director of football academic support Scott Walker acknowledges that Thomas did admit to being homesick, but he also said that he discussed the possibility of Thomas playing baseball for Rutgers with both Thomas and his father.
“We talked about all the ways to get that done,” Walker said, according to the New York Daily News. “I do know he is homesick … We looked at what the eligibility issues (were) and where he can go, at what level and things of that nature; how many credits he has to pass to stay in school … and stay on scholarship…”
Flood, in his second season as Rutgers head coach, stands by the fact that his program is built on respect and honor, and that bullying is not part of the culture in the locker room and on the field.
“I’ve built relationships in this part of the country over the last 20 years, and I spent a lot of time doing it, and every one I’ve built has been built on honesty,” Flood said, according to the Daily News. “I think if you talk to the people in athletics and on campus here at Rutgers, the high-school coaches in this state and the other people I’ve done business with, I think they’ll tell you that.”
The Scarlet Knights (5-4, 2-3) will visit No. 18 UCF on Thursday night.
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