NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers suspended football coach Kyle Flood for three games and fined him $50,000 for contacting a faculty member over a player's grade.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi announced the punishment Wednesday, a day after he said he received an internal investigative report.
The report found that Flood e-mailed and met in person with a faculty member even though he knew or should have known of the university's policies prohibiting coach-initiated contact with faculty members regarding students' academic standing.
The report also found that Flood provided grammatical and minor editorial suggestions for a player's paper to complete a course. The report said that assistance was in line with standard student support and did not constitute academic misconduct.
"I believe that the discipline is severe and justified for his failure to follow policy," Barchi said, adding he met with Flood and that the coach accepted responsibility for his actions and the discipline.
Flood was not immediately available for comment. It not immediately known who would coach Rutgers (1-1) on Saturday at Penn State.
The only assistant who has head coaching experience is running backs coach Norries Wilson. A former Gophers lineman and graduate assistant coach, Wilson was the first African-American head football coach in the Ivy League with Columbia (2006-11).
Barchi said the university needs to protect academic integrity and ensure that faculty members are free of intimidation and interference by outside parties.
Barchi said the investigation started Aug. 12 and focused on whether Flood intervened on behalf of junior cornerback Nadir Barnwell.
The investigation found that Flood used his personal e-mail to contact the faculty member and had an in-person meeting with the faculty member regarding Barnwell's academic standing. The multiple e-mail contacts came both before and after the meeting, which occurred at an off-campus location.
The meeting with the teacher came after a member of the athletics academic advising staff reminded Flood not to have contact with any faculty member regarding a student's academic standing. Flood still had the meeting.
The faculty member agreed during that meeting to review an additional paper as partial satisfaction for the requirements of a course the student already had completed. The paper was submitted but ultimately was not graded and the academic status of the student and his final grade were not changed.
The penalty comes with Rutgers football reeling from a series of player arrests and suspensions over the past month. Six players have been dismissed from the program — including Barnwell — following arrests. Three former players also were arrested.
Star receiver Leonte Carroo was suspended indefinitely this past weekend after he was charged with body slamming a woman he was once romantically involved with following the Scarlet Knights' loss to Washington State on Saturday. Carroo has pleaded not guilty.
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Barchi said he hopes this doesn't hurt the reputation of New Jersey's flagship state university.
"Make sure we put this in perspective," he said. "We're talking about actions that are occurring with a single coach and a single team."
The penalty for Flood relates only to the academic improprieties and not the string of arrests of players and former players on allegations including home invasion and dorm-room robberies and domestic violence.
Barchi said that because the alleged crimes are part of an investigation by a prosecutor, the university can't do its own probe now.