Sports

Rutgers Football hit with NCAA sanctions, escapes harsher penalties

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The Rutgers football team plays the University of Nebraska today, following the announcement of NCAA penalties. Credits: Ken Simmons-TAPinto Piscataway
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - As the Rutgers football team prepares for its game today against the University of Nebraska, the talk among the faithful is a two-year probation period for the struggling program.

The NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions panel ruled the university failed to monitor its football program, the NCAA announced Friday afternoon.

The penalties fell short of the more punitive measures that were considered, which included the loss of scholarships and bowls.

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Still, they added little to the self-imposed sanctions Rutgers announced in April, after acknowledging reports that multiple NCAA violations took place under the leadership of then-Football Coach Kyle Flood. The probation begins immediately and ends Sept. 21, 2019.

Among the infractions listed, the university failed to report positive drug tests by football players, attempts were made by athletic staff to influence players’ grades, athletic employees lied to NCAA investigators and recruit-hosting groups took place which did not follow NCAA guidelines.

Flood was criticized by the panel for his “casual approach to compliance,” and that he exercised “little, if any, oversight on the group,” thereby enabling the staff to administer the program with virtually no supervision.  Flood will be subject to a one-year “show-cause” order, during which any NCAA school employing him must show why his involvement with football should not be limited.

Currently, Flood is the assistant offensive line coach with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.

He, along with then-Athletic Director Julie Hermann, were sacked soon after the 2015 football season ended. 

By then, reports surfaced that Flood met privately with a professor in an attempt to arrange extra-academic opportunities for a student who was failing the course and at risk of losing his eligibility for the 2015 season  

A majority of the sanctions handed down by the NCAA were already self-imposed by the university.

“The obligation of all member institutions in the NCAA is to participate fully in these kinds of investigations,” wrote Gary Miller, who led the NCAA investigation in case. “Certainly Rutgers has met that obligation.”

In a university-wide email sent out Friday, Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs praised the NCAA’s decision.

“The committee found that our self-imposed penalties were appropriate for the violations that occurred,” Hobbs wrote.

“Concluding this investigation will allow us to continue the progress that we have made, both on and off the fields we play,” Hobbes said. “Those efforts will always take place in a culture of compliance.”

Rutgers will lose 10 recruiting days from the 2017-2018 school year, with five days in the fall evaluation period and five in the spring evaluation period.

The university will be limited to 36 football official visits between 2017 and 2018, a reduction of four from the average number of visits used during the four most recent years and 26 fewer than permitted by NCAA rules.

The football staff will be subject to a prohibition of phone calls, social media contact and written correspondence with prospects for a one-week period between 2017 and 2018.

Rutgers will also pay a $5,000 fine.

The Scarlet Knights sit at 1-2 under second-year coach Chris Ash. This weekend they head to University of Nebraska - Lincoln, to open their Big Ten Conference schedule. The team went without a conference win last year, losing all nine conference games, during Ash's first season. 

 

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