Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has been suspended for three games and fined $50,000 after a school investigation confirmed he had improperly contacted a faculty member, university president Robert Barchi announced on Wednesday.
The punishment is being doled out following a Rutgers investigation into whether Flood violated school policy and amid a series of off-field incidents involving Rutgers players. The school was investigating whether Flood violated rules by allegedly sending an email to a faculty member regarding the academic eligibility of one of his players.
The player in question, cornerback Nadir Barnwell, has since been dismissed from the program for disciplinary reasons, along with five other players.
"I believe that the discipline is severe and justified for (Flood's) failure to follow policy," Barchi said in a letter to the university community. "... 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."
Among the key findings of the investigation were that Flood sent multiple emails to the faculty member, and met with the faculty member in person at an off-campus location despite being reminded by an athletics academic advisor that such a meeting was not permissible. Flood also was found to have edited a thank-you email and paper that Barnwell was to send to the faculty member.
The full report submitted to Barchi, minus some redacted names, was posted online by the school. That report ended with a three-point conclusion that Barchi referred to in addressing the severity of the action against Flood. The determinations submitted to Barchi were that 1) Flood had violated school policy, 2) that he potentially could have violated school ethics rules, and that 3) he was not in violation of the school's academic integrity policy.
Flood denied any wrongdoing in his initial reaction to the investigation, and reacted with indignation to initial reports. On Wednesday, he re-addressed it:
"I take full responsibility and accept the consequences of my actions," Flood said in a statement. "I care deeply about my student-athlete's academic performance. 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. ... Moving forward, I will make sure I adhere to all University policies and I will place an even greater emphasis with our staff on knowing, understanding and following every University, Big Ten and NCAA rule."
The suspension means Flood will miss the Scarlet Knights' Big Ten opener against Penn State on Saturday, a home game against Kansas on Sept. 26, and an Oct. 10 home game against conference power Michigan State. His first game back will be at Indiana on Oct. 17.
Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann announced that assistant coach Norries Wilson will act as head coach for the next three games.
Flood's program has been under fire not only because of the school investigation, but due to a series of disciplinary problems involving his players, as well. Six players have been dismissed in recent weeks, five of which were announced minutes before the team's season-opener against Norfolk State. Four of those players face charges stemming from an alleged assault of another student in the spring.
In a separate incident, the program's top player, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, was arrested for simple assault for allegedly slamming a woman onto a concrete surface after Rutgers' 37-34 loss to Washington State on Saturday.