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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers President Robert Barchi announced on September 16 that head football coach Kyle Flood has been “suspended” for three games and fined $50,000 after an investigation found Flood was in violation of the university’s compliance policies, and possibly its Code of Ethics.
But Flood will still be paid his seven-figure annual salary without interruption. As we reported, Flood became the highest-paid state employee after signing a lucrative contract extension last fall.
NJ.com’s Keith Sargeant has also reported that, while Flood can’t coach on gamedays, he will still allowed to run practice during the week and handle other responsibilities.
“Coach 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,” a statement from Barchi read.
New Brunswick Today caught up with Barchi, but the embattled University President declined to answer whether or not Flood would be paid during his suspension.
“I’m not going to answer your questions… because I have no comment for you,” Barchi told NBToday.
Spokespersons for the university and its football program also did not answer our simple question.
But other sources confirmed that Flood was still going to be collecting big paychecks that will make it easy for him to forget about the $50,000 fine.
According to his contract, Flood is set to earn $1,050,000 over the course of the year.
The suspension comes nearly three weeks after it was reported Flood was being investigated for potential misconduct in communicating with the professor of one of his players.
Multiple reports suggested star cornerback Nadir Barnwell was in danger of being declared academically ineligible for the 2015 season, and that Flood contacted Barnwell’s professor regarding the player’s academic status.
Barnwell was among the five players dismissed from the program on September 5, after being criminally charged in a violent assault on a 19-year-old student that took place on April 25.
Barchi released the results of the investigation, which revealed, “Coach Flood used his personal email to contact the faculty member and had an in-person meeting with the faculty member regarding the academic standing of a member of the football team.”
“The multiple email contacts came both before and after the meeting, which occurred at an off-campus location.”
The full report reveals Flood met with the professor outside of the Princeton Public Library in Princeton.
Barchi’s statement also notes that after Flood sent the initial e-mail, an academic advisor informed the coach that he is not supposed to have any contact with a professor regarding a player’s academic status.
The advisor told Flood it would be “a big problem.”
According to the statement, the professor “agreed to review an additional paper as partial satisfaction for the requirements of a course the student had already completed.”
Ultimately, the player’s grade was not changed, and he remained ineligible to play.
But while that scandal played out, law enforcement was preparing to arrest and charge Barnwell, and several other current and former Scarlet Knights, with violent crimes including home invasions and the April 25 assault.
The punishment for Flood was only for the violations of policies regarding contact between coaches and teachers.
“Coach Flood is specifically tasked with knowing both NCAA and our institutional policies regarding these issues,” the report read. “Simply, Coach Flood has no excuse for not knowing the rule and following it.”
Flood released a statement, saying, “I take full responsibility and accept the consequences of my actions.”
He continued by saying he cares deeply about his players’ academic performance.
“I am proud that our program has ranked in the top 10% of the APR 8 years in a row,” Flood’s statement reads.
“That success doesn’t happen by accident. It’s due to our top-to-bottom program culture emphasizing the importance of academic success, and it’s why we have a robust academic support staff that is second to none.”
Athletic Director Julie Hermann released a statement in support of Barchi’s decision.
“All of us must use this as an opportunity to grow as coaches, administrators and staff,” Hermann’s statement read. “We have been in the process of instituting additional compliance training as it relates to University policies on athletic-faculty communication and continue to enhance our documentation of all compliance-related meetings.”
Hermann also announced running backs coach Norries Wilson will handle interim head coaching duties.
Wilson does have head coaching experience, as he spent six seasons as the head coach at Columbia, where he compiled a 17-43 record.
Flood’s three-game suspension means he will miss the September 19 game at Penn State, as well as the Homecoming game against Kansas on September 26, and the annual “blackout” game versus Michigan State on October 5.
Flood will be eligible to return to the sidelines when Rutgers visits Indiana on Saturday, October 17.