The Rutgers football program can officially breathe a huge sigh of relief.
As the culmination of a two-year investigation into the football program, the NCAA on Friday announced its final ruling on a case involving Rutgers. Despite a failure to monitor charge, the NCAA essentially accepted the sanctions the university had previously self-imposed on itself for violations ranging from academic improprieties to drug-testing irregularities to lack of oversight in the recruiting ambassador program.
Below are the original penalties self-imposed by the program:
- a 1-year probation period
- a $5,000 fine
- a reduction of 10 off-campus recruiting days (five in the fall of 2017-18 and five in the spring)
- a limit of 36 official visits hosted, 26 lower than the limit
- a 1-week ban on initiating phone calls, contact on social media and written correspondence to recruits
The only change made by the NCAA was bumping the probation period from one year to two. Additionally, former head coach Kyle Flood, now an assistant with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, received a one-year show-cause.
The NCAA had particularly pointed words for Flood.
“The former head coach took a casual approach to compliance as it relates to the host program,” the panel said in its decision. “He exercised little, if any, oversight of the group, permitting recruiting staff to administer the program with no supervision. As the individual who had ultimate oversight of all aspects of the football program, it is implicit that the head coach was also responsible for the actions of football hosts and, ultimately, the violations they committed.”
In September of 2015, Flood was suspended for three games in the wake of a university investigation into his alleged actions. The probe centered on an email that Flood sent from a private email account to an RU faculty member regarding the eligibility of one of his former football players.
That situation was highlighted in the committee’s decision:
In the last instance of not following university policy, the former head coach contacted a student-athlete’s instructor, contrary to university policy, to arrange for extra coursework after the conclusion of the term so the student-athlete could pass the class and be eligible for the fall 2015 season. After contacting the instructor and before meeting with her, the former head coach reached out to an academic support administrator, who warned against contacting the instructor. The former head coach stated he was unaware of university policy prohibiting him from contacting faculty members.
The former head coach provided the student-athlete with an impermissible academic extra benefit when he contacted the instructor to arrange extra coursework, an arrangement that is not available generally to the student body. The instructor ultimately did not accept the extra coursework, and the student-athlete was ineligible for the fall 2015 season.
The NCAA kicked off its probe of the football program in the spring of 2015, prior to Flood’s suspension. The head coach, along with athletic director Julie Hermann, was dismissed in late November of 2015.