NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rutgers has suspended football coach Kyle Flood for three games and fined him $50,000 for contacting a faculty member over a player’s grade.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi announced the punishment Wednesday, a day after he said he received an internal investigative report.
The report found that Flood emailed and met in person with a faculty member even though he knew or should have known of the university’s policies prohibiting coach-initiated contact with faculty members regarding students’ academic standing.
The report also found that Flood provided grammatical and minor editorial suggestions for a player’s paper to complete a course. The report said that assistance was in line with standard student support offered on campus by student learning centers and did not constitute academic misconduct.
“No grade was changed. There was no request to change a grade,” Barchi told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “It was a request to accept additional work.”
The penalty comes with Rutgers football reeling from a series of player arrests and suspensions over the last month. Six players have been dismissed from the program following arrests and three former players were arrested. Star receiver Leonte Carroo was suspended for a second time this season after he was charged with body slamming a woman he was once romantically involved with following the Scarlet Knights’ loss to Washington State on Saturday.
It was not immediately known who would coach Rutgers (1-1) on Saturday at Penn State.
Flood released the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:
“Earlier today, I met with President Barchi in his office and he informed me of my three-game suspension and the imposed fine.
“At Rutgers, we hold our student-athletes to high academic standards befitting a great university. We adhere to a higher standard, one that I am responsible to be aware of. I take full responsibility and accept the consequences of my actions. I care deeply about my student-athlete’s academic performance. As the head coach, when I recruit players, my responsibility to them and their families is to do all I can to make sure they leave Rutgers with a degree and are prepared for a successful life off the football field. I am proud that our program has ranked in the top 10% of the APR 8 years in a row. That success doesn’t happen by accident. It’s due to our top-to-bottom program culture emphasizing the importance of academic success, and it’s why we have a robust academic support staff that is second to none. I will always instill in my players that they have a responsibility to themselves, their families, our University and its alumni to perform well in the classroom, and I will never stop caring about their academic performance.
“Moving forward, I will make sure I adhere to all University policies and I will place an even greater emphasis with our staff on knowing, understanding and following every University, Big Ten and NCAA rule.
“In deference to our student athletes, coaches, and staff moving forward, I will not provide further comment at this time.”
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Barchi said he hopes this doesn’t hurt the reputation of New Jersey’s flagship state university.
“Make sure we put this in perspective,” he said. “We’re talking about actions that are occurring with a single coach and a single team.”
The penalty for Flood relates only to the academic improprieties and not the string of arrests of players and former players this month on allegations including home invasion and dorm-room robberies and domestic violence.
Barchi said that because the alleged crimes are part of an investigation by a prosecutor, the university can’t do its own probe now.
“There’s no correlation or interrelationship between the two at all,” he said of the legal issues and Flood’s talking to a faculty member about a student’s status.
Barchi added that the legal incidents are not a reflection on what he calls a disciplined team under Flood’s leadership.
“And I’m confident that they’re going to give it their best and see if they can see their way through this,” he said.
Flood is entering his fourth season as coach. He’s 23-16, taking the Scarlet Knights to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons.
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