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Asking Adjunct to Change Football Player’s Grade Costs Rutgers Coach $50K & Suspension

Read the full Rutgers Report on Kyle Flood here.

Kyle Flood, who earns $2.5 million as the head coach of the Rutgers University football team has been suspended for three games as Rutgers football coach and fined $50,000 following a university-led investigation into rules violations and amid a recent string of off-field transgressions involving players on his team, university president Robert Barchi told NJ Advance Media.

“This suspension is the result of the very detailed extensive investigation that we carried out over the past several weeks regarding the allegations that the football coach had an inappropriate contact with a faculty member who was the instructor of one of our football players, a contact that is in violation of the university policy,” Barchi told NJ Advance Media. “That is what it’s about. That is what it’s in response to.”

The faculty member, an adjunct, earns $2,500 per course, according to the Rutgers faculty union.

In a letter to the Rutgers community on Wednesday, Barchi outlined the critical findings:

  • Flood met with the professor off-campus, and contacted the professor through subsequent emails, after he was told by a member of the academic support staff “that he is not to have contact with any faculty member regarding a student’s academic standing.”
  • When the faculty member agreed to “review an additional paper” to possibly help Barnwell’s standing in the class, Flood helped Barnwell by providing “grammatical and minor editorial suggestions to the submitted paper.Flood faced suspension or termination if he were found to have acted contrary to institutional policy by initiating contact with a faculty member with regards to a player’s academic standing.

Flood’s program also has been besieged by off-field problems recently. Six players have been kicked off the team in the past two weeks as the result of arrests. Two players, cornerback Dre Boggs and fullback Lloyd Terry, have been charged in home invasions. The other four players — Barnwell, cornerback Ruhann Peele, safety Delon Stephenson and fullback Razohnn Gross — face assault charges.

“As a member of the faculty and as a former provost myself, I know that Coach Flood’s actions in communicating with the faculty member crossed a line that all faculty hold dear,” Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers, said in a campuswide email. “Our faculty must have complete independence in executing their duties and there is a reason why we prohibit athletics coaching staff from discussing the academic standing of students with faculty.”

According to a report released Wednesday, the university stated that Flood “knew or should have known of well-established university policies prohibiting coach-initiated contact between coaches and members of the faculty regarding a student athlete’s academic standing.” Yet, officials concluded, Flood contacted a professor several times using the coach’s personal Gmail account.

According to a piece posted to InsideHigherEd.com:

Last May, a football player became academically ineligible after receiving a poor grade, according to the account in the Rutgers report. The player emailed the professor of that course, asking if there was a way for him “to work something out.” The professor said she could not change the grade.

The player continued to ask the professor if there was a way to improve his grade, and eventually the professor emailed an academic adviser, saying that the player was “badgering” her to change the grade.

Flood was notified of the player’s ineligibility and his interactions with the professor. In July, Flood asked the player to draft a letter to the professor “explaining his behavior last semester.” The coach forwarded the letter to the professor, saying, “I am sending it from my personal email to your personal email to ensure there will be no public vetting of the correspondence.”

Flood said that if the professor’s decision not to change the grade was final, then he was in “full support of that decision.” However, he added, if there was any work that could be done to earn a grade change, he would make sure the work was done during “football hours.” The professor replied, saying she was unsure how to change a grade so many weeks after it had been submitted. Flood asked if the two could meet in person, and then sent four more email messages arranging a time and place.

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