Sports|Rutgers Football Is Facing NCAA Inquiry – New York Times


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Kyle Flood, a former head football coach at Rutgers, during a game in Piscataway, N.J., in 2015.

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The N.C.A.A. has informed Rutgers that it is investigating several potential rules violations related to the university’s football program, including one stemming from the former coach Kyle Flood’s contacting an instructor to secure extra-credit work for a player who had been struggling to remain academically eligible.

The N.C.A.A. has also accused Rutgers, which revealed the inquiry Tuesday, of operating an improper host program for football recruits, of conducting a faulty drug-testing program that resulted in 16 players who had tested positive for banned substances being allowed to compete, and of improper recruiting by a since-departed assistant coach, who subsequently tried to hide his conduct.

The allegations, which rise to a severe level under N.C.A.A. policy, though not the severest, are yet more bad news for a Rutgers athletics department that has struggled on and off the field in recent years, including its time since it joined the Big Ten before the 2014 season.

“Despite my disappointment over these allegations, I believe we are a stronger university because of our immediate and transparent response to them,” the Rutgers president, Robert Barchi, said in a letter released Tuesday.

Both Flood and the former assistant coach, Darrell Wilson, could be served with show-cause penalties that would effectively bar them from college coaching for a period of time, the N.C.A.A. said. Flood, who is a radio host for Sirius XM, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Robert Monaco, the football team physician whom the N.C.A.A. pegged as partly responsible for drug-testing violations listed in the complaint, could also be served a show-cause order, according to the notice. He remains on the staff at Rutgers, a university spokesman said, but with no oversight over the drug-testing program. Barchi said that a new chief medical officer was brought in to oversee drug testing.

Both Flood and Julie Hermann, the athletic director who presided over the department during much of the period when the violations are suspected to have taken place, are gone, having been replaced by Chris Ash and Pat Hobbs late last year.

In his first season, Ash and the Scarlet Knights posted a 2-10 record, including embarrassing blowout losses to No. 2 Ohio State (58-0), No. 6 Michigan (78-0) and Michigan State (49-0), which finished with one more victory than Rutgers.

Yet many in New Brunswick would gladly take a poor football performance as the biggest of the problems for Rutgers athletics.

In recent years, a player-abuse scandal cost the then-men’s basketball coach and the athletic director their jobs. That was followed by the controversial hiring of Hermann and of Eddie Jordan, a beloved former Rutgers player who, it turned out — and contrary to what the university said — had not graduated from the university. (Jordan was fired after last season.) Shortly before the 2015 season, six Rutgers football players were dismissed for suspected involvement in criminal activities.

Many at Rutgers, New Jersey’s flagship public university, remain skeptical of the relatively quick path it took from relative athletic obscurity to perhaps college sports’ most prominent conference, the Big Ten, which added it as a member in part for its geographical entree to the East Coast and the New York City area.

In football and men’s basketball, Rutgers’s Big Ten records are 4-21 and 3-33, though the basketball team is 11-1 as conference play is about to begin.

Barchi said that Rutgers self-reported violations and cooperated with the N.C.A.A. investigation, and that the full infractions process might not be complete until well into next year. Several additional actions, such as suspending Flood for three games and fining him $50,000 during his final season, could serve as mitigating factors when it comes to sanctions, he added.

The relatively new triumvirate of athletic director, football coach and the men’s basketball coach, Steve Pikiell, Barchi said, “has us headed in the right direction.”

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