Rutgers transfer quarterback dismissed after charged with assault


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Philip Nelson, a transfer quarterback, was dismissed from Rutgers Football Program after being charged with one count each of first- and third-degree assault.


Before another major controversy could engulf the University, Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood quickly took action.

Philip Nelson, a transfer quarterback who was arrested Sunday in Mankato, Minnesota for his involvement in the alleged assault of a 24-year-old man, was dismissed today from the program.

Rutgers Athletic Communications spokesman Jason Baum said Sunday the team was in the process of obtaining more information and reserved comment until the legal process was complete.

Then Monday morning, Nelson was charged with one count each of first- and third-degree assault, according to Mankato police reports.

An altercation escalated outside a local bar in which the victim, Isaac Kolstad, allegedly kissed the hand of Nelson’s girlfriend. After an unidentified second suspect punched Kolstad to the ground, Nelson proceeded to kick the left side of Kolstad’s head “like it was a soccer ball,” an eyewitness told The Star Tribune.

Kolstad sustained a skull fracture, brain swelling, brain shifting and deterioration of lungs from lack of oxygen, according to a doctor in a criminal complaint obtained by Gannett New Jersey.

“He is currently in critical condition and fighting for his life,” Blaine Kolstad, the victim’s father, wrote on caringbridge.org Sunday night.

That was all Flood needed to dismiss Nelson from the program.

“The Rutgers football family’s thoughts and prayers are with Isaac Kolstad and his family,” Flood said today in a statement.

The 20-year-old Nelson transferred to Rutgers after two seasons as a starter at Minnesota. He participated in spring practice, but per NCAA transfer rules, was ineligible to play in any games until next season.

Once viewed as a likely replacement to senior quarterback Gary Nova after next season, Nelson’s status as a student at Rutgers is now in doubt.

Nelson was released from Blue Earth County Jail on $20,000 bail yesterday, according to nj.com. He faces up to 20 years in prison, as first-degree assault is a felony in Minnesota.

“Behavior such as alleged in this matter is a violation of our Code of Student Conduct and could lead to sanctions such as suspension and ban from campus,” Rutgers University spokesperson E.J. Miranda said today in a statement.


Greg Johnson

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