Important preface/full disclosure: I dislike President Barchi, Kyle Flood, and pretty much anyone else associated with Rutgers sports in any capacity. Put together a winning season for me ONE TIME.
Okay so the news has broken that President Barchi and Rutgers University have suspended football coach Kyle Flood for 3 games for “impermissible contact” with a professor, plus a measly $50,000 fine (fines don’t mean ANYTHING by the way). The story goes that Flood inquired about a player’s grade and proceeded to email the professor (from a personal email address) and then meet up with them secretly to discuss it in person. He says he didn’t ask for the grade to be changed, but rather if there was anything the student could do to improve their grade (not sure how much of that I believe). There’s also some rumblings out about Flood helping write a paper or do an assignment. Those are big no-no’s. There’s no denying that those actions are wrong, and as head football coach, you need to be smarter. And it doesn’t help that Flood was sketchy about this entire ordeal and, in so many words, tried to cover it up.
First let me say that a coach should absolutely be able to contact a professor directly in regards to his players/their students. Any good coach cares about his student-athletes’ grades and will do what they can to ensure their eligibility and academic success. But rules are rules and Flood clearly broke them. But those actions do not warrant a 3-game suspension in my opinion. President Barchi has come out and said that this suspension is strictly in regards to the investigation of Kyle Flood’s contact with the professor. In other words, the decision has nothing to do with the slew of players getting arrested and the football program falling apart at the seams. I also don’t know how much of that I believe. If, in fact, the 3-game penalty is solely based on the academic violations, then Barchi should resign and subsequently kill himself because the penalty is outrageously harsh. How he will sleep tonight being okay with that decision is beyond me.
Barchi said the possibility of terminating Flood was “on the table”. The man essentially almost got fired for trying to help a struggling student. Obviously he went about it the wrong way, but at it’s core, the consequence doesn’t fit the bill. Now, if Barchi wants to fire Flood for having zero control of his players, then I support that move 1000%. 6 players arrested/suspended in the last two weeks, it’s dark days in New Brunswick. And it all stems from the top of the pyramid; the lack of discipline by Coach Flood has resulted in a lack of respect from his players. The football program is in complete disarray, and the blame has to fall, at least in part, to Flood. I don’t think he’s a great coach anyway, but that’s neither here nor there. So if the governing board wants to hold him accountable for his players revolting against the team values and robbing people and assaulting people, I don’t think there would be any objections.
I know for a fact (reliable source) that when Greg Schiano was at the helm, the football players were rarely seen at the bars, for example. Now you can find a number of players at the bars all nights of the week. Maybe that matters, maybe it doesn’t. And maybe it’s not fair to compare Flood to the coach who really put Rutgers Football on the map. But Kyle Flood has dug himself quite the hole right now and has nobody to point the finger at other than himself. To me, it sounds like Barchi has an agenda and/or future plans to eventually can Flood. The fact that the potential punishment ranged from nothing to termination and somehow landed at 3 games and a fine is suspect to say the least. I don’t know if there’s some sort of issue or personal vendetta against him, but I don’t think we’ll see Flood live out his contract through 2018 at RU.
Maybe the biggest mystery is that Julie Hermann continues to skate by and go relative unscathed. How is she not received any backlash? She was dealt a losing hand in the sense that the entire student body hated her when she arrived. It wasn’t anything personal but more that everyone loved Tim Pernetti and felt that he was the sacrificial goat amidst the Mike Rice ball-throwing scandal. But she hasn’t done anything to earn anyone’s respect as far as I know. Julie Hermann has been reactive instead of proactive, and as the Athletic Director for a school like Rutgers, that’s just unacceptable. Let’s just beat Penn State on Saturday and forget about it all.
PS – If we’re being honest, I wouldn’t mind Rutgers prioritizing athletics to academics for a few years. Win games and forget about the rest.