By Steve Ginsburg
(Reuters) - Rutgers University on Wednesday suspended head football coach Kyle Flood for three games and fined him $50,000 for improperly contacting a faculty member at the New Jersey school regarding the academic status of a player.
Flood's contact with the faculty member was inappropriate and violated the school's compliance rules, the Rutgers office of ethics and compliance along with outside counsel found, the school said.
"Coach Flood is specifically tasked with knowing both NCAA and our institutional policies regarding these issues. Simply, Coach Flood has no excuse for not knowing the rule and following it," Rutgers University President Robert Barchi said in a statement.
"I believe that the discipline is severe and justified for his failure to follow policy," added Barchi, who said he met with Flood to inform him of the suspension and fine.
Flood was investigated for contacting a faculty member over a grade for Rutgers cornerback Nadir Barnwell that threatened the player's academic eligibility, according to media reports. Barnwell was suspended from the team after being arrested this month on charges of aggravated assault, riot and conspiracy to commit a riot.
"I take full responsibility and accept the consequences of my actions," Flood said in a statement.
"I will always instill in my players that they have a responsibility to themselves, their families, our university and its alumni to perform well in the classroom, and I will never stop caring about their academic performance," he added.
Flood's suspension is the latest in a string of controversies to rock the program.
Six players have been dismissed in the past two weeks due to arrests, and receiver Leonte Carroo drew his second suspension of the season on Sunday and has been charged with simple assault in a domestic violence incident.
Rutgers plays at Penn State in its Big Ten conference opener this weekend. It was unclear who would be the interim head coach during Flood’s suspension.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham)