The 2015 season may not start off with a bit of controversy off the field for Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood. NJ.com reports today Flood is being investigated for impermissible contact with a university faculty member over the status of one of his players. The report suggests Flood could ultimately face a suspension, or perhaps even be fired, although that is purely speculation at this point in time. Either way, it sure makes it sound serious.
Per NJ.com‘s Keith Sargeant, the investigation at Rutgers is centered on an email from Flood’s personal email account to a faculty member of Rutgers’ arts school. The player in question is reportedly cornerback Nadir Barnwell, a junior. Barnwell reportedly faces academic ineligibility for the upcoming season. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the punishment Flood could face ranges from a public reprimand to a termination of his contract with the university. If the worst-case scenario plays out, Flood could potentially be out of a job before the start of the season, as the investigation is expected to be wrapped up in short order.
Rutgers prohibits coaches from having direct contact with instructors of student-athletes, which is why Rutgers is investigating this manner. At this point there is no word on whether the NCAA or Big Ten have taken a look to see what is happening, although it would be wise to assume each will monitor the situation closely and weigh in if needed.
UPDATE (1:40 p.m.): Flood has now responded to the story, suggesting the accusations insult his integrity. His comments, via NJ.com;
“Let me start by saying I’m disappointed at the tone of the article that (associate athletic director for media relations/football) Hasim (Phillips) showed me this morning. I’ve been the head coach now, this is going into my fourth season, and I’ve had a lot of interaction with the teachers on our campus. I think that that article not only insults my integrity, but insults the integrity of our faculty. I’ve come to realize that our faculty here at Rutgers is beyond reproach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them.
“Our faculty are part of our program. Just as recently as the other day, we had two faculty members at our practice. Now, any correspondence that I had with a professor in regard to a student-athlete would really be of this nature: One, to be in support of whatever decision that faculty member made, and two, to inquire as to whether or not there would be an opportunity to earn a better grade. Now, this practice is not unusual at Rutgers. Many students all over campus receive what are called ‘T grades’ doing work outside of when the class ends that semester to earn a better grade.”