5 surprising things about the Rutgers football charges
As Rutgers heads into its regular season Saturday, it's doing so under a cloud — facing one scandal before it's done with the last.
Seven Rutgers students — five of them current football players — are among the 10 people facing charges after a string of violent incidents. Ex-players and ex-students are in the mix as well. Four current players are implicated in an attack that left another RU student with a broken jaw. One of the players is among the several people accused of breaking into homes and stealing cash and drugs.
It's a mess.
But here's some surprises that have been buried below most of the headlines:
1. Let's call it a learning experience: The four players accused of taking part in the attack Nadir Barnwell, Ruhan Peele, Razohnn Gross and Delon Stephenson are all criminal justice majors. They're getting an up-close look at the criminal justice system now — how much closer of a look they'll get depends on how the case proceeds.
Barnwell and Peele have had legal trouble before. The former was suspended from the team in October of 2013 for violating team rules after being charged with driving while intoxicated and careless driving. Peele pleaded not guilty to a disorderly persons charge in October of 2014 after he was accused of assaulting a woman — though the charges were dropped when she didn't show up in court, NJ.com reports.
2. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss: Coach Kyle Flood's already facing a scandal after being accused of improperly contacting a professor about Barnwell's grades, in violation of school and NCAA rules.
And now he's taking a lot of the heat for his players' alleged actions. But by all indications, he'll be on the sidelines Saturday as Rutgers opens its regular season at home against Norfolk State.
The always-sympathetic folks on Twitter seem to want otherwise:
3. Stirring the pot: Authorities describe three violent home invasions among the incidents leading to this week's charges. Current player Andre Boggs is implicated in two of them; former player Tejay Johnson in all three. Student Dylan Mastriana is accused of planning some of the break-ins with Jianan Chen of New Brunswick. Student Kaylanna Ricks is accused of serving as a getaway driver in one.
One of the break-ins didn't result in any proceeds — but in the first two, authorities say, victims were robbed not just of cash, but marijuana.
4. Another day, another scandal: It's a little bit surprising that anyone's still surprised about a scandal in college athletics — and Rutgers certainly isn't new to them.
Remember in 2012, when the video of men's basketball coach Mike Rice showed him throwing basketballs players, shoved them and screaming anti-gay slurs? He was hit with a $50,000 fine and eventually the loss of his job.
Julie Hermann became athletic director back in 13, but barely more than a week later players she'd coached on the 1996 Tennesse women's basketball team complained she'd verbally abused them, as reported by the Star-Ledger at the time. She rode it out.
5. Another hit for Sayreville: Who would have thought the Sayreville War Memorial High School football program's reputation could take yet another hit?
The school isn't quite through its hazing scandal — most charges are resolved, but authorities have described shocking sexual assaults by players against younger peers in their locker room. But two of those implicated in the new charges — current RU player Delon Stephenson and his older brother, Daryl Stephenson — were both Sayreville players. Both helped the team to state sectional championships and both had untarnished reputations before now.
Daryl Stephenson, 23, remains at large, authorities say.