Rutgers suspended head football coach Kyle Flood for three games after an investigation into improper email contact and accused intimidation of a university professor regarding former cornerback Nadir Barnwell’s grade, announced university president Robert Barchi.
Keith Sargeant of NJ.com first reported the suspension and $50,000 fine.
"I believe that the discipline is severe and justified for his failure to follow policy," Barchi said in his statement. "I met with Coach Flood this 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."
The decision comes two days before the Scarlet Knights leave for Penn State, after the decision came Wednesday afternoon to suspend him for three games.
The statement sumarizes the extend to which Flood violated University policy below.
- Coach Flood knew or should have known of well-established University policies prohibiting coach-initiated contact between coaches and members of the faculty regarding a student-athlete’s academic standing. The responsibility for such contact strictly rests with our athletics academic advisors under the purview of the Office of the New Brunswick Chancellor. Coach Flood used his personal email to contact the faculty member and had an in-person meeting with the faculty member regarding the academic standing of a member of the football team. The multiple email contacts came both before and after the meeting, which occurred at an off-campus location.
- A member of the athletics academic advising staff reported that she reminded Coach Flood, after he sent the initial email but before he had the in-person meeting with the faculty member, that he is not to have contact with any faculty member regarding a student’s academic standing. Coach Flood nevertheless moved forward with the previously scheduled meeting with the faculty member.
- After meeting with Coach Flood, the faculty member agreed to review an additional paper as partial satisfaction for the requirements of a course the student had already completed. The paper was submitted to the faculty member but ultimately was not graded and the academic status of the student and his final course grade remained unchanged.
- Coach Flood and the student both have acknowledged that Coach Flood provided grammatical and minor editorial suggestions to the submitted paper. The Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance consulted with senior campus academic officials, including the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Chancellor, Rutgers-New Brunswick, who both agreed, after reviewing the paper before and after the edits, that the assistance provided by Coach Flood was in line with standard student support offered on campus by student learning centers and did not constitute academic misconduct.
In Flood’s initial statement after the investigation became public, he said “Any correspondence that I had with a professor in regards to a student athlete would really be of this nature. One, to be in support of whatever decision that faculty member made. And two, to inquire as to whether or not there would be an opportunity to earn a better grade.” Rutgers compliance policy prohibits coach in-initiated contact with faculty according to the school’s official website.
Flood is also under fire for team disciplinary issues after police arrested six of his players for a combination of armed robbery, burglary and assault charges. Flood dismissed all players involved.
Rutgers police arrested team captain Leonte Carroo two weeks later after a domestic incident the night of the Washington State game. The Rutgers University Police Department charged Carroo with simple assault under domestic violence.