On Wednesday, Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media reported that starting safety K.J. Gray and linebacker Brendan DeVera were dismissed due to a violation of team rules. On Thursday night, Sargeant released a second report that multiple Rutgers football players are under investigation for fraudulent use of credit cards. To be clear, it was not confirmed that Gray and DeVera were dismissed due to the investigation.
Sargeant states that as many as eight players are being investigated by the Rutgers police department. No names are being released as no charges have been filed yet. The players are reportedly cooperating with police. Sargeant also reported that head coach Chris Ash has not responded to several requests for comment on the matter.
This new criminal investigation could result in a major blow to the program, just three years after eight players were arrested when Kyle Flood was head coach, including for robbery, drugs, and assault. The program dodged major NCAA sanctions from Flood’s tenure and its far too early to know how this current investigation could affect that status.
There is no way to sugarcoat this though, as this investigation could be huge setback in regard to the upcoming season, the program as a whole, as well as another black eye for the athletic department. Obviously, it’s important to wait until the investigation is complete before rushing to judgement. It certainly appears that this investigation stands to be the biggest test of athletic director Pat Hobbs tenure so far. If the dismissals of Gray and DeVera are tied to the investigation, it would appear Ash and Hobbs are being proactive, which is a positive.
With training camp set to begin in just three weeks, a dark cloud is already hovering over the season.
For my morning after reaction on the news, click here.