University officials leak information in newest report
Rutgers University’s investigation into head football coach Kyle Flood continues to drag on toward the end of the probe’s third week as Flood continues to decline comment until the process has concluded.
According to a report released Sept. 2 by Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media, the Rutgers academic support staff warned Flood not to contact a faculty member. But the fourth-year head coach allegedly chose to disobey that order when inquiring about the academic progress of junior cornerback Nadir Barnwell.
Barnwell, who was listed as the starter at his position on the Scarlet Knights’ spring depth chart, has been widely reported to be in jeopardy of being declared academically ineligible.
The sources from the NJ Advance Media report, who were identified as “two university officials,” have requested anonymity while the investigation is ongoing. But in the meantime, Flood has remained mum on the topic.
“It’s about Kyle trying to circumvent the process and trying to get the kid eligible,” the source told NJ Advance media.
After practice Wednesday when a reporter from the publication asked if Flood was aware of the report and whether he had been warned by the University’s academic support staff, the head coach from Queens, New York, was taken aback.
“Let me ask this question before I respond to it,” Flood said. “So, what you’re saying to me is that a process, that I’ve been told from the university not to comment on, was commented on by people from the university? I’m going to continue to respect the process and I won’t have any further comment until — until the end of the process.”
Flood, who is said to be in danger of suspension or even dismissal if the findings of the inquiry prove detrimental, has appeared to have remained resolved, unfazed by the investigation for the last three weeks.
As of the time this story was published, the University has made no official comment other than acknowledging there is an investigation ongoing.
Flood continues to respect the investigation process, while University officials have commented anonymously. But with the Knights' season opener two days from kickoff, a decision on Flood’s status is expected any day now.
Rutgers football fans have been waiting for the 2015 season to begin from the moment the last second ticked off the clock at Ford Field last December, where the Scarlet Knights routed North Carolina, 41-20, in the Quick Lane Bowl. But facing a Division I-AA opponent in Norfolk State on Saturday, it would be understandable if a few tailgaters missed the opening kickoff.
Don’t expect that to be the case this weekend, especially for students.
Autoland of Springfield, New Jersey, is sponsoring a $100,000 giveaway hinged upon the outcome of Rutgers’ first kickoff return. If a Knight returns the kick for a touchdown, 100 random students, seated in the student section, will win $1,000 each.
“I mentioned it to the freshmen,” Flood said. “I haven’t said anything to Janarion (Grant). I tried to start a little ‘Grant Chant’ for those guys in the stands we’ll see if that comes to fruition this Saturday. I know the students are excited about it. If I was in college and I had an opportunity like that I’d be in my seat early, I know that."
Junior returner/wide receiver Janarion Grant has a penchant for dramatic kick returns, demonstrated by a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown against Fresno State as a freshman on his first collegiate touch.
Grant gained 910 kick return yards last season, earning a spot on this year’s Paul Hornung Award watchlist, an honor bestowed upon the nation’s most versatile player.
But what if Grant takes a knee?
“He’d probably get booed,” Flood said. “But sometimes that’s a good decision and that’s what happens.”
Grant doesn’t think the contest will raise his profile to celebrity status on the Rutgers campus anytime soon, but he acknowledged he is aware of the giveaway.
“I don’t even think they know me, really, to be honest,” Grant said of his classmates. “But I’m pretty sure when I’m out there, they’ll know me. They’ll see my face and they’ll start getting hyped about what I need to do.”
The Trilby, Florida, native said no coaches had approached him about the contest. But it did come to his attention on social media.
“I’ve been seeing it around, seeing it on Facebook or what not. My guys have been telling me, ‘Bruh you gotta take it back, you gotta take it back,'" Grant said. "But no I don’t feel no pressure at all. It’s just what I do daily.”
Grant waffled when asked to set a red line of demarcation in the end zone, to denote how deep he would be willing to begin his return.
“I’d say about like five yards," he said. "If that’s where I’m at, then that’s where I can return it from. But anything deeper — six yards, I probably give it to six yards and then I’ll be good after that — but anything deeper I’ll have to take a knee."
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