Rutgers football has taken another turn for the worse, as the program announced five players were suspended Thursday following arrests involving home invasion and assault.
The timing of this incident is terrible, as the program is already dealing with a university-led investigation of head football coach Kyle Flood for a possible rules violation involving the academic status cornerback Nadir Barnwell—who was also one of the five players arrested.
While these issues alone would get most athletic directors and coaches fired, they’re just the latest black eyes suffered by Rutgers.
First, there was the scandal involving ex-basketball head coach Mike Rice’s abuse of his players and the administration’s decision to do absolutely nothing until video of the assaults surfaced. Then, after firing then-athletic director Tim Pernetti, the school hired Julie Hermann, who was accused of her own verbal and physical abuse from volleyball players she coached at the University of Tennessee.
How the Scarlet Knights managed to earn an invitation into the Big Ten amidst all of these issues is mind-boggling.
Since Flood took over the football program in 2012, Rutgers has had nine players arrested, including six prior to the 2015 season. As previously noted, one of those players, Barnwell, was already the subject of the e-mail investigation and has also received a DUI. Another, cornerback Ruhann Peele, was allowed to return to the team this past off-season after assault charges against him were dismissed. Peele is also one of the five Rutgers players suspended for the first half of the team’s season opener against Norfolk State for violating curfew.
These incidents create a very concerning picture, especially since the previous staff under head coach Greg Schiano had very few off-the-field issues and prided itself on its discipline.
“I kept on saying, ‘This is going to bite us in the ass. This is going to bite us in the ass,'” a longtime Rutgers athletic department employee told NJ.com‘s Steve Politi. “Everybody saw it. If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have a football program.”
Rutgers doesn’t have a football program right now, at least not a competent one. The leaders of the university’s athletics department, along with president Robert Barchi, are willing to sacrifice integrity for money and wins—and that can’t fly.
It’s time for the university to stand up and act B1G—you can’t call yourself an institution for higher education when you routinely look this stupid.