Having sold its academic soul to pursue big-time television contract money when it decided to join the Big Ten conference, whose network eases the guilty conscience of each school’s president with as much as $25 million a year, Rutgers, who lost to Penn State on Saturday 28-3, now needs to hire a public relations firm to deal with the ugly aftermath of its decision. According to an article on Forbes.com:
In the last [month], seven players have been arrested. Four, including Barnwell [BFN: felicitous first name of Nadir], are charged with aggravated assault and two face armed robbery charges in connection with home invasions during April and May. The seventh player, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, is accused of slamming a woman’s head into concrete outside the Rutgers football facility. [BFN: In addition, head coach Kyle Flood has been suspended three games and fined $50,000 for improperly contacting a professor about a player’s grade.]
These arrests aren’t the result of scholar-athletes getting a bit carried away after the big game; there’s no drunk in public or public urination here, not even a DUI. On the plus side for damn-the-consequences Rutgers sports fans, the seriousness of the charges shows that the school is making a sincere effort to recruit the type of law breakers who play football and masquerade as students at the most successful college football programs (this list of “most arrested” school teams reads like a perennial top 25).
Recognizing that violent criminals often make great football players but also trying to give second chances to those who have paid their debts to society, Rutgers will fill the seven roster vacancies by creating a Football Apprenticeship Release Timetable program (“FART”) for violent but trusted felons at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. The program, similar to one at Florida State, will allow prisoners to leave confinement for practice and games but not to attend class (since class attendance is optional and actually discouraged at most top football schools).
DeFred Goo Folts, a training instructor at the prison who is working on FART, told Bud Fox News:
I spent yesterday afternoon with an assistant coach. He wanted to look almost exclusively at guys who were in for breaking and entering as well as guys doing time for felonious assault. The way he explained it to me, B&E guys have to be able to keep cool and create on the fly because you never know what’s going to happen once you break into someone’s house. They’re good halfback material. And he said guys in for assault are usually mean, quick, and strong; real linebacker potential. I mean they’ve given someone a serious beating, so they were probably fast enough to get the first shot in.
There’s a decent chance that head coach Kyle Flood, who is making $1.25 million this year, won’t be around to enjoy the all but guaranteed success of the football felon program. If his three-game suspension feels a bit like déjà vu, that’s because it’s the same number of games that erstwhile basketball coach Mike Rice got in 2013 during another Rutgers athletic department catastrophe. Rice was fired about 3 1/2 months after his suspension (about when athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned). If Rutgers President Robert Barchi’s ethical compass hasn’t been completely corkscrewed by the magnet of sports, which is debatable since he was around for the hiring of the ridiculous Julie Herman as AD (lawsuits for discriminatory practices) and the vetting of Eddie Jordan as basketball coach (the school incorrectly trumpeted Jordan as a Rutgers grad when it announced his hiring), then he’ll send Flood packing (Barchi’s letter announcing Flood’s current punishment is here). After all, this is an individual who, like many other college football coaches, feels the rules don’t apply to him. According to an investigation by the law firm of Barlow Garsek & Simon, when a member of Rutgers’ Office of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes told Flood that it was against school rules for him to speak with a professor about a player’s classroom performance, Flood, looking to become the John Calipari of college football, did it anyway. The class in question is Dance Appreciation. Why former cornerback Nadir “Dunce not Dance” Barnwell couldn’t pass this class and why in the name of God Rutgers is even offering it are topics that could and probably should be covered in a separate post. Here’s the course description from the Rutgers undergrad course catalog:
07:203:101 Dance Appreciation (3)
Designed for nonmajors. Introduction to a broad spectrum of dance events through performances in New York City, throughout New Jersey, on campus, and on film and video. Discussion with guest artists. Field trip: $100 (no textbook fee). This is not required for 203 major. It is offered for general education nonmajors and does not count for credit for the 203 and 206 dance majors.
When asked about the football crime spree at his state university (not to mention the tens of millions of tax-payer dollars that the athletic department loses annually), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (whom we’ve written about here), clearly too distracted by a presidential campaign that is heading to Scott-Walkersville, actually offered up this tidbit of hands-on managerial brilliance:
You guys can micromanage Rutgers. I have a president there; I have a board of governors. If they need my help or my advice, they’ll call. And if I see something that I think is completely outrageous, I’ll call them.
Don’t bother calling Rutgers, Governor; just call the Trenton State Prison at (609)-292-9700.