Yesterday, Aaron Breitman wrote up a strong summation of the current state of affairs with the Rutgers Football Team leadership ("A Factual Recap of Tuesday's Reported Investigation of Rutgers Football Coach Kyle Flood"). It outlined the key factors without whit or rhetoric and maintained objectivity throughout.
If you're looking for a solid summation of what's going on without opinion or bias, that's your place to go.
This article is not that place. I write to you today, quite simply, to support our head football coach.
In short, Coach Flood has led the Rutgers football program - in many ways, the entire Rutgers athletics community - through tumultuous times and extreme uncertainty with grace, dignity and class. He is the embodiment of what we want in our leadership, on the field and off. His dedication to enriching the lives of his wards, of celebrating the academic goals of the university, and to doing things the right way - The Rutgers Way - are exceptional.
Accordingly, we should give him the respect that he has earned in letting this investigation play out without a media firestorm or angry mob riding sensationalism to an unfair conclusion.
To be fair, if any coach at any college is pressuring teachers to pass students based on favor, not merit, they should no longer be in the coaching profession. But what in Coach Flood's history leads you to believe this was his intent or action?
As a former Rutgers adjunct, I sent and received plenty of emails from my personal account. I was in contact with the academic support staff frequently and they were great collaborators; professionals through and through and very supportive of Rutgers' academic mission. There was no hint of inappropriate intention, only sincere concern for the well being of the student athletes and academic integrity of the school.
From Aaron's article, above:
"For those that want to attack Keith Sargeant and the Star-Ledger, understand the university confirmed the investigation within hours of his report. This is not a witch hunt."
A fair point.
However, something about the Star Ledger's coverage has me on edge. Maybe it's the Star's past scrutiny (fair or not) of the athletic department providing bias. Maybe its the tone or timbre. Maybe it's the volume of stories about what is essentially a non-story (yet).
Looking at Keith Sargent's most recent posts, it strikes me less as hard journalism, more as Buzzfeed-style clickbait. I understand that writers want to cover what their readers want to read (hello, here I am!), but there is a fine line between investigation and witch hunt that is becoming ever more blurry in my eyes.
Don't get me wrong. I love Sarge's writing and I think the Ledger's football coverage has been really hitting its stride over the past year. I think we all do. However, this week - to me - does not feel like the Star's finest hour.
All that said, maybe Sarge is right. Maybe where there's smoke there's fire. Maybe Flood has been using his squeaky-clean image to get away with things behind the scenes.
Or maybe this is a simple case of a missed protocol between a coach and a teacher. Maybe its something more nuanced than we can cover without more knowledge.
To me, the most likely answer is that a Knight is a Knight. Kyle Flood embodies what it means to be a Scarlet Knight; the virtue, the dedication and the selflessness. He is the leader we want and the leader we need. Until we hear a concrete reason not to, I personally support Coach Flood and I encourage Scarlet Nation to as well.
The opinions in this article are solely mine and do not reflect the On The Banks editorial staff, SB Nation or any other entity.