BY TOM CANAVAN
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The NCAA has placed Rutgers on two-year probation and publicly reprimanded and censured the university for failing to monitor its football program over a five-year period between 2011 and 2015.
The Division I Committee on Infractions panel ruled Friday that Rutgers did not ensure its football student host group and its drug-testing program followed university policy and NCAA rules.
The panel also said that former football coach Kyle Flood failed to monitor his operations staff and violated university policy by contacting an instructor to make a special academic arrangement for a student-athlete.
The ruling was lenient in that the NCAA agreed with most of the self-imposed sanctions that Rutgers sought as punishment for the violations.
Rutgers helped itself by cooperating with investigation, firing Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann after the 2015 season, and implementing a new drug testing and hiring a new chief medical officer. The major difference was the NCAA ordered two years of probation instead of the one year sought. Rutgers admitted in April in responding to an 18 month NCAA investigation that violations had occurred in its football program.
The NCAA accepted most of the university’s self-imposed sanctions to correct them.
They included a $5,000 fine, a reduction in the number of permissible, off-campus recruiting days, a limit of 36 official visits for high school seniors and transfer students in football during the 2017-18 academic year and a one-week probation on initiating contacts with prospective student-athletes.
The NCAA could have added additional sanctions by vacating wins, reducing scholarships and banning the team from bowl games.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi thanked the NCAA committee and said the university is moving forward.
“Today, the Committee issued its final report concluding the matter, and not only recognized our cooperation but also acknowledged the extensive changes we have taken in personnel, structure, policies, and compliance,” he said in a statement.
Gary L. Miller, chief hearing officer for the panel and the chancellor at Green Bay, said all NCAA members are required to cooperate fully in investigations. He said the panel’s job is to decide whether the violations happened and then to apply the membership approved penalties to the violations.
The NCAA put Rutgers on notice in December 2016 that the investigation into the department of athletics has found seven potential violations.
Among them were:
— Flood violated NCAA rules by going to a professor and asking the teacher to assign extra work to a student-athlete to improve a grade. The coach was later suspended three games and fined $50,000 after the school investigated the incident.
— The infractions panel also found that Rutgers’ medical staff did not notify the athletics director of positive drug tests, and that the medical staff and Flood, now an NFL assistant coach, did not notify or involve the athletics director when determining penalties for student-athletes who tested positive. Some student-athletes were never notified of a positive drug test.
— This is the first time that Rutgers has been penalized by the NCAA since 2003, when the university was sanctioned for violating financial aid and eligibility rules. Rutgers was placed on probation for two years and lost 20 scholarships spread across 10 sports.
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