Following the headlines over the past few weeks surrounding the recent arrests of Rutgers football players and controversy over alleged emails sent from head coach Kyle Flood, Rutgers President Robert Barchi spoke with NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams about the latest development. Coach Kyle Flood was issued a three game suspension and fined $50,000 for violation of Rutgers policy.
Barchi says information that came in through their enterprise risk management system alleging of contact between a coach and a faculty member led to this very serious suspension at the start of the big ten season. “That’s something that is strictly forbidden by our Rutgers policy. So it was brought directly to me and within 24 hours I had put together an investigatory team with outside council and undertook an investigation to see if we could find out exactly what happened and what the facts were,” he said.
When asked if coach Flood was warned not to make contact with faculty Barchi said as the head coach of football at Rutgers it’s his responsibility to know university policies. “It is the policy of Rutgers that there should be no contact between any of our coaches and any of our faculty who are teaching our students. It is our policy. Has been our policy for many years. It’s something that we educate people on on a regular basis and it’s his obligation to know that,” Barchi said.
Last Friday the Rutgers Board of Governors met in an emergency meeting Friday. Barchi says they did not discuss penalties at that meeting, but that they were addressing other issues under attorney client privilege. “It was a meeting to bring the board of governors up to speed with the four different issues that we were facing under attorney client privilege. The investigation was one of them, was making them aware of the facts as they were coming forward, but we didn’t discuss penalties,” he said.
Currently eight Rutgers current and former football players have been arrested. When asked if the arrests was one of the issues to come before the board Barchi said he couldn’t answer the question “since it was attorney client privilege.”
Flood violated Rutgers policy, but Barchi maintains that no NCAA rules were broken. “The act of contacting a faculty member does not constitute a NCAA violation. Obviously we keep the NCAA informed about all these investigations, and there’s always the possibility that the NCAA will see something differently than we do. But at this point the act that we have identified for which he’s being punished was not a NCAA violation in and of itself.”
Given the program and the negative headlines that have come out in the last few weeks, Williams asked Barchi if firing coach flood was ever a consideration? “We looked at the full range of possible penalties when we went in to this investigation, from no consequence at all to termination. What we have done is to provide the closest match of consequence to the acts that we know occurred. And that’s the nature of the penalties that we propose. Going forward it’s going to be up to coach Flood to show us what he can do and to show us how he can perform, but that is independent of the conclusions that we reached today,” he said.