We have more than a few people wondering what is going on. Remember that when this story broke, Rutgers - the office of the president, specifically - said it had known about the situation for a week. So , in reality, we're now more than three weeks into this.
About a week ago, we published a post saying that the "only people who matter" in all this were President Barchi and AD Julie Hermann, and they were not showing any support, and we'll acknowledge that publicly they might not be able to say much. But the idea that they were the only ones who mattered may not be completely true. There are some other people who matter, and they do support Flood.
Just yesterday, major donor and Flood supporter Jeff Towers tweeted this:
That's the same Jeff Towers who may be the person behind Flood's contract extension (and buyout?). The same Jeff Towers who spoke with Gannett's Ryan Dunleavyy and offered unequivocal support for the Head Coach.
There are people in the media with some credibility and insight who are able to look beyond the surface, who are able to think, who are not necessarily writing for clicks on their website. Take Tara Sullivan of northjersey.com. Her post from last week is critical of Flood, but does not call for his firing. The thrust of her piece considers the lack of strong leadership at Rutgers, from the president on down. Her piece is considered and thoughtful. What an interesting perspective from a writer.
And when she writes about Barchi, she confirms what I've been thinking and writing for seemingly over a year: he doesn't want to dirty his hands with athletics.
Ask President Robert Barchi to step in and help? He can't even pretend he likes the big-time athletics part of his job, making it clear many times over he is not about to pour more money into a department he believes has more than it needs already. Contract buyouts and mass staff hirings? He shudders at the thought.
In his post-game press conference last Saturday, Flood was asked about the players being dismissed from the team:
Q. Whose decision was it [to remove the players], obviously President Barchi sent out a statement, obviously you saw it last night --
COACH FLOOD: I did.
Q. -- where he called the behavior abhorrent and unacceptable. Can you react to his decision, please, and can you tell us whose decision was it to dismiss the players? Was that a football decision or school decision or both?
COACH FLOOD: I will start by saying I did read Bob's statement. I have not spoken to Dr. Barchi, but I completely agree with it, and it was my decision. [emphasis added]
The president of the university - the president of a school embroiled in all sorts of negative publicity, with a coach who is the most visible face of said university - hasn't spoken with the coach about the latest issue? Really?
Towers and Sullivan aren't the only ones addressing the issue of seeming non-support and invisibility from Rutgers leadership. Just like an old brokerage firm's commercials said, when a brigadier general speaks, people listen. Retired General Bruce Bingham (RC '68) has long been a supporter of athletics, especially hockey. And he has pretty much had it with the media taking shots and nothing being done in response. When a columnist called for Flood's firing, he reached his limit. He wrote to NJ Advance Media's Keith Sargeant about his - and a lot of others' - frustrations and anger.
Sure the investigation into the email matter is ongoing, but to leave Coach Flood facing the media alone for the crimes by students and student athletes announced this week just isn't right. He has a ten year record as an exemplary Rutgers employee and coach and has presided over numerous expectation-exceeding team and individual achievements in the classroom and on the field.
So today, Steve Politi of the Newark Star Ledger calls for Flood to be fired in connection with these crimes.
Rutgers is the size of a small city and will have its bad elements who should be disciplined and prosecuted as appropriate.
I would like to see the administration recognize that this is an institutional issue for all Rutgers leadership to deal with, not just coach Flood. Letting him know he is not alone and that all university resources are on this matter would be a great start.
Bruce Bingham, Brigadier General, US Army (Retired), Rutgers College '68
He's right; Flood has been standing alone. Facing the media....alone. And representing himself, his team, his university - and mine - with dignity and forthrightness. Alone. And that is shameful and wrong.
This is a university issue. Don't you think so, Dr. Barchi? Don't you think so, Ms. Hermann?
Well, we may find out sooner than later.
The University Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting on Friday, an unusual action. The purpose was announced as dealing with athletics and litigation. Whether the two topics are intertwined or related is unknown. But maybe, just maybe, a resolution of some sort is coming. But regardless of the agenda of that closed session meeting, this matter needs to be addressed and concluded....quickly....now. No one should be left standing alone, left hanging, as Flood has been.