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Kyle Flood Under Investigation for Impermissible Faculty Contact

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

Rutgers football head coach Kyle Flood listens to a question about the Scarlet Knights' recruiting class on national signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Mel Evans/Associated Press

Rutgers University is investigating head football coach Kyle Flood for allegedly having impermissible contact with a school faculty member regarding the status of a player on the team. On Sept. 16, Keith Sargeant of NJ.com reported Flood will be suspended three games for his actions.

Continue for updates.


Flood Comments on Future, University's Handling of Investigation; Coach Reportedly Defied Academic Staff

Thursday, Sept. 3

"I will be coaching the game on Saturday," Flood responded when asked about his status at the university, per Sam Hellman of ScarletReport.com.  

Flood's comments on his status came a day after he openly criticized the university for its comments in the media regarding the investigation.

“Let me ask this question before I respond: 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?" Flood said, per Sargeant. “I’m going to continue to respect the process, and I won’t have any further comment until the end of the process.”

Flood's comments came after Sargeant reported comments from university officials who said Flood contacted a professor despite being told not to do so:

The university's office of ethics and compliance, with help from outside counsel, is investigating an email Flood allegedly sent from a private account to a Mason Gross faculty member regarding the status of Nadir Barnwell.

The two officials, who requested anonymity because the investigation into whether Flood violated university policy is ongoing, said the inquiry isn't simply about an email sent from Flood's private account.

"It's about Kyle trying to circumvent the process and trying to get the kid eligible," one of the university officials told NJ Advance Media.

Sargeant had more comments from the school officials regarding what Flood knew and his behavior:

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"The communication with him was clear as to the status of Nadir's grade and he still decided he could fight it,'' said one official, who claimed Flood "had a long paper trail of information'' and still contacted the professor.

Another official said: "It was already done and everybody in the program knew it. Kyle was told, 'It's done, leave it alone.' ''


Flood Under Investigation for Violation of School Policy

Saturday, Aug. 25

Sergeant reported Flood could be facing a fine or a suspension for the incident:

The university's office of general counsel is investigating the severity of the alleged violation, which, the sources said, is focused on an email Flood allegedly sent from a personal account to a faculty member at the university's Mason Gross School of Arts regarding the status of Nadir Barnwell. The junior cornerback is reportedly in danger of being deemed academically ineligible.

On Aug. 26, Sargeant revealed that Flood may be in violation of a university policy prohibiting contact with a faculty member. According to Sargeant, Flood admits to having "a lot of communication" with faculty members, which would violate the policy, which states:

Coach-initiated contact of any type (e.g., oral, written, etc.) is not permitted between any member of the coaching staff and any Rutgers faculty member or associated instructional staff (teaching assistant, co-adjutant, part-time lecturer, etc.) with respect to any student-athlete.

Sargeant's initial report states if Flood is found to not be in compliance with school rules by trying to provide illegal benefits to a student-athlete, the discipline can range from a public reprimand to his contract being terminated. 

The report does note it's unclear if Flood is in violation of an NCAA or Big Ten rule for having contact with a player's professor, though a Rutgers official added "the university's athletics compliance department prohibits coaches from communicating with instructors."

Flood released a statement on the report, per Dan Duggan of NJ.com:

Let me start by saying I'm disappointed at the tone of the article that (associate athletic director for media relations) 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' (temporary grades) doing work outside of when the class ends that semester to earn a better grade.

Nadir Barnwell's status has been uncertain, as the junior told Sargeant on August 16 that he couldn't discuss his eligibility: "Right now I really can't comment on that. Right now I'm just focusing on myself, just getting my body right to be honest with you, taking it day-by-day just trying to win every day.''

Barnwell has appeared in 17 games over the past two seasons, recording 64 total tackles and seven passes defended. 

Flood took over as head football coach at Rutgers in 2012 after Greg Schiano moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has kept the program at a steady level in his three seasons, winning at least eight games two times and playing in three bowl games. 

Rutgers will open the 2015 season on September 5 with a home game against Norfolk State. 

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