July 23, 2018 | ° F

Flood suspended for 3 games, fined $50,000 after found responsible for impermissible contact with faculty member

Photo by Yangeng Lin |

Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood has been suspended for three games, effective immediately, and fined $50,000 at the conclusion of a University investigation regarding his impermissible contact with a faculty member, University President Robert Barchi announced Wednesday.

The full findings of the investigation are available in a 22-page report here: http://president.rutgers.edu/sites/president/files/Final Report.pdf

NJ Advance Media first reported the disciplinary action for the fourth-year head coach, stating in its report that Barchi spoke to the news outlet just 15 minutes after he had alerted Flood of the rules violations.

“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,” Barchi said in an emailed statement to the Rutgers Community.

Photo: Edwin Gano

In the statement, Barchi briefed the findings from an investigation that had been since 24 hours after the allegation was first reported to the University on Aug. 12.

A member of the athletics academic advising staff warned Flood after he sent the email to not have any contact with a faculty member regarding the academic standing of the student-athlete, Barchi said in the statement. But Barchi said Flood, who had already scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the faculty member, decided to follow through with it anyway.

“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,” Flood said in a statement Wednesday. “… 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.”

Athletic Director Julie Hermann said in a statement Wednesday that Barchi had notified her of the findings of the Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance on Tuesday.

“All of us must use this as an opportunity to grow as coaches, administrators and staff,” she said in the statement. “We have been in the process of instituting additional compliance training as it relates to University policies on athletic-faculty communication and continue to enhance our documentation of all compliance-related meetings.”

Hermann said she supported Barchi’s choice of disciplinary action. She appointed associate head coach Norries Wilson, who oversees the running backs position, as the interim head coach for the Scarlet Knights’ next three games starting Saturday at Penn State, followed by the next two home contests Sept. 28 against Kansas and Oct. 10 against Michigan State.

While Barchi did not identify the student involved, NJ Advance Media first reported on Aug. 25 that the investigation was centered on Flood’s impermissible contact in an email with a Mason Gross faculty member regarding the academic eligibility of former cornerback Nadir Barnwell.

Barnwell, 20, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, was arrested Sept. 3 for his involvement in an alleged assault case with four other former Rutgers football players. The team announced the dismissal of all five players 10 minutes prior to the Sept. 5 season opener against Norfolk State.

The Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union on Sept. 9 stated in a press release, “Head Coach Kyle Flood initiated communication with a part-time lecturer about an F grade he or she assigned to a football player.”

Barchi’s emailed statement links the full findings of the report, which cites a series of emails and interactions between the student, multiple academic advisors, the professor and Flood.

In his emails, Flood states that he sent the messages from his personal account to avoid public correspondence and any possibility of an OPRA request.

During his suspension, Flood is able to coach the team midweek in practice from Monday through Friday but not on game days.

Garrett Stepien

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