Rutgers, one of college football’s worst teams, could face NCAA sanctions
The charges reportedly include alleged academic tampering by former coach Kyle Flood.
The athletic department at Rutgers has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, NJ.com reported on Tuesday. The allegations come from an investigation that’s lasted a year-and-a-half and reportedly involved the football team under former head coach Kyle Flood. There are seven NCAA compliance allegations, the report says.
The entire case is made up of Level II allegations, according to the report. Level IIs are less serious than Level Is, which carry the most serious penalties. The NCAA defines Level II infractions as “significant breaches of conduct” and goes into this detail:
Violations that provide or are intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage; includes more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive impermissible benefit; or involves conduct that may compromise the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model as set forth in the Constitution and bylaws.
We have some idea of what’s going on here, though the picture is, as yet, incomplete. The NJ.com story, by reporter Keith Sargeant, says the NCAA is charging Rutgers with providing an impermissible benefit to former defensive back Nadir Barnwell, in the form of academic tampering that was first reported more than a year ago. Flood, the NCAA reportedly believes, contacted one of Barnwell’s professors directly to seek “special consideration for Barnwell in an academic course,” which is not allowed.
Rutgers dismissed five players after an off-field altercation at the beginning of the 2015 season. Barnwell was among those players. Before that, Flood reportedly tried to clandestinely help Barnwell get better grades, but Flood was not apparently great at the “clandestine” part of that sentence.
“It’s believed that Flood is charged with failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the football program, violating the principles of NCAA head coach responsibility legislation,” Sargeant writes.
Flood served a three-game suspension before his firing last year.
When the NCAA serves a program with an NOA, the school has 90 days to respond in writing, though that timeline is extendable. Once Rutgers responds, the parties will set up a hearing, and the case should move forward next year.
As far as we know, the allegations have nothing to do with current coach Chris Ash, hired before this season, or his staff. But Ash’s team could face sanctions for what went on under Flood’s administration, anyway. Rutgers went 2-10 in Ash’s first season and had a particularly bad time against the rest of the Big Ten East.