Rutgers University has seen its football team surrounded in controversy in recent weeks. On Thursday, Sept. 3, five players on the football team were arrested on assault charges. The incident occurred in April, during which one Rutgers student suffered a broken jaw. The players included defensive backs Nadir Barnwell, Dre Boggs, Ruhann Peele, Delon Stephenson and fullback Rahzon Gross.

Boggs, Barnwell and Stephenson were all expected to be starters this year. Boggs was also charged with robbery, burglary while armed and conspiracy to commit an armed robbery. Boggs was linked to an incident in April where he and former Rutgers football player, Tejay Johnson, broke into a student’s home and stole $900 and an undisclosed amount of marijuana.

Rutgers also lost head coach Kyle Flood for the first three games of the season after he contacted a professor about changing a player’s grade on an assignment. Rutgers has a University policy banning coach-initiated contact with faculty members over a player’s academic standing.

Ironically enough, the player Flood inquired for was Barnwell. Flood was fined $50,000. “I think Kyle has accepted responsibility fully,” said Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University, in a statement to nj.com.

In addition, Rutgers has lost their best offensive player, wide receiver Leontee Carroo, to an indefinite suspension. Carroo was accused of getting into a physical altercation with a female fan after a home game against Washington State University on Saturday, Sept. 12. There is a possibility that Carroo can avoid punishment from the legal system and get his suspension lifted, as he claims he never laid a hand on the woman. “Everything indicates that [the woman] is the only one who should be charged in this,” said Carroo’s lawyer in a statement to nj.com.

Although Carroo’s lawyer claims he has video evidence that proves Carroo’s innocence, the ongoing court case is a story to watch. The Scarlet Knights have gone 1-1 two games into Flood’s suspension, and sit at 2-2 on the year. Their next game is a home matchup against Michigan State University, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.

This season is looking like a lost one for Rutgers, who built momentum following an 8-5 record in 2014, their second year in the Big 10. Now that they are in a Power Five conference, all moves that they make will face additional scrutiny. Successful college programs, especially those in the Southeastern Conference, have learned to deal with players getting involved in off-field issues. Putting this disaster behind them will be a huge test for Rutgers as a program overall.

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