New Brunswick Faculty Council releases report deeming punishment against head coach Kyle Flood to be too lax
Following the recent slew of incidents seizing the Rutgers football team, the New Brunswick Faculty Council released a report and resolution on ethical and academic problems in the football program on Sept. 25, which deemed the sanctions, a three-game suspension and a $50,000 fine, placed against football head coach Kyle Flood for contacting a player’s professor as too lax.
The New Brunswick Faculty Council, a group of Rutgers professors headed by Mark Killingsworth, a professor in the Department of Economics, sent the three-page document to news media via email shortly following a meeting held in Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus that was closed to the public and press.
The council maintained that Flood’s impermissible contact with a part-time lecturer about changing cornerback Nadir Barnwell’s grade in his “Dance Appreciation” class was “well beyond a violation” of the University’s “no-contact policy.”
The council’s resolution also raised eyebrows about the “grammatical and minor editorial suggestions” Flood had for the extra paper the part-time lecturer allowed Barnwell, because the type of assistance Flood offered Barnwell could be interpreted as “an extra benefit to the athlete” and thus be considered a violation of NCAA policy.
“Given that the faculty member in question is a part-time lecturer (PTL) with no job security, Coach Flood’s pressuring her to change the student’s grade was much more serious ethically than if he had tried to pressure a tenured faculty member to change a student’s grade,” according to the report. “The power imbalance and the fact that Coach Flood repeatedly pressured the PTL via a series of e-mails and in person and that he did not stop the student from ‘badgering’ her raise the transgression to the level of intimidation of a highly vulnerable member of the University community.”
The report mentioned that Flood visited the same part-time lecturer’s class during the Fall 2014 semester to acquaint himself with the instructor once a number of his players registered for “Dance Appreciation.”
“This practice seems inappropriate, would surely be intimidating to some instructors, and may be a violation of the no contact policy,” according to the report.
The New Brunswick Faculty Council’s resolution largely mirrored a resolution passed on Sept. 10 by the New Jersey chapter of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers urging Rutgers to pursue the allegations brought against Flood.
Six days later, on Sept. 16, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi sent a University-wide email containing the details about the investigation and the sanctions leveraged against Flood.
The AAUP-AFT, which focuses largely on income parity, particularly for part-time lecturer positions, criticized the power imbalance present between large earners like Flood and small earners like part-time lecturers in their resolution.
The more recent resolution from the New Brunswick Faculty Council pulled from Barchi’s report verbatim, citing the part-time lecturer’s admittance to investigators that “she felt unable to resist the implied pressure” from Flood and “felt uncomfortable” not complying with Flood’s request to administer an additional assignment to boost Barnwell’s grade.
The part-time lecturer did not change Barnwell’s grade in his class, according to the council’s report, but the faculty members represented in the document found Flood’s claim that he was unaware that his contact with the part-time lecturer to “(strain) credulity.”
“Even if one were to accept his statement that he did not initially know about the no contact policy, he must have known that he was doing something improper given the lengths to which he went to conceal his actions, including using his personal e-mail account to contact the PTL and meeting her off campus dressed so that he would not be recognized as the Rutgers Head Football Coach,” according to the report. “Moreover, he continued with his plan to meet the PTL in person even after he was advised by a member of the Academic Support Services for Student Athletes (ASSSA) staff that any contact with a faculty member about a student’s grade is impermissible.”
The council, who was unsettled by the findings of the email investigation, also called itself “disturbed” by the charges brought against other players on the team since August 2015.
Five players were suspended for their involvement in either robbery, house invasion and assault, and wide receiver Leonte Carroo was suspended for a curfew violation and for the physical assault of a woman affiliated with Rutgers Athletics.
“The New Brunswick Faculty Council calls on the Rutgers administration to act forcefully and expeditiously to address and resolve all the concerns raised in this (New Brunswick Faculty Council) report in order to halt and reverse the decline in the ethical and academic standards in our football program and the continuing damage to the University’s reputation,” according to the report.