On September 15, 2015, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (“Rutgers”) issued the Report of Factual Findings of Investigation into Alleged Improper Contact by the Rutgers Head Football Coach with a Faculty Member (“Report”). The Report addresses contact between Kyle Flood (“Coach Flood”) and a Rutgers professor relating to a football student-athlete. As a part of the investigation, the investigator obtained documents and emails and interviewed Coach Flood, the student-athlete, the professor, members of the athletics academic support office, the Chair of the Athletic Academic Oversight Committee, the Senior Associate Athletics Director, and others involved in the academics and athletics programs.
Between July 26, 2015 and August 16, 2015, Coach Flood had email and face-to-face contact with a Rutgers professor regarding a Rutgers football-student-athlete. Specifically, Coach Flood spoke to the Rutgers professor about personal and other problems involving the student-athlete and asked the professor whether any missed work could be completed. Ultimately, the professor agreed to allow the student-athlete to complete an assignment. After receiving the completed work, the professor chose not to change the student-athlete’s grade.
The Report makes the following findings:
1. Rutgers has a policy that prohibits a coach from contacting a professor regarding a student-athlete’s academic performance. The policy has been published on the Rutgers Division of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (“Athletics Department”) Web site since at least 2007 and coaches are regularly advised of the policy in annual compliance meetings.
2. Coach Flood knew, or should have known, about the policy as a result of: (a) the posting of the policy on the Athletics Department Web site; (b) annual compliance training; (c) Coach Flood’s employment contract and NCAA Guidelines that charge Coach Flood with knowledge of relevant Rutgers and NCAA policies; and (d) being specifically informed of the policy by a member of the Office of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes (“Academic Support”).
3. Coach Flood had repeated contact with a faculty member regarding a student-athlete’s ineligibility due to academic performance and his effort to have the professor afford the student-athlete an opportunity to complete an additional assignment in order to make the student-athlete eligible for the 2015 football season.
4. By engaging in repeated direct contacts with the professor, Coach Flood circumvented the responsibilities of Academic Support, which oversees the academic program for all student-athletes.
5. Coach Flood’s contact with the professor may have potentially violated Rutgers’ Ethics Policy which generally prohibits Rutgers faculty or staff from using his position at Rutgers to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others.
6. No violation of the Rutgers Academic Integrity Policy occurred when Coach Flood assisted the student-athlete with grammatical and punctuation changes in a paper the student-athlete submitted to the professor, because that type of assistance is generally available to other students through Rutgers’ Learning Center, tutors and other resources.
In a statement, Coach Flood apologized for his oversight and his mistake in not knowing the Rutgers policy against contact with professors.