More trouble for future B1G member

November, 18, 2013
11/18/13
1:00
PM ET
Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of Rutgers' admission to the Big Ten.

Things haven't exactly gone swimmingly for The State University of New Jersey since that landmark day.

There was the Mike Rice bullying scandal, which led to the ouster of popular athletic director Tim Pernetti. More controversy arrived when Rutgers named Julie Hermann as athletic director and some of Hermann's former volleyball players at Tennessee made allegations of abuse. Even the hiring of basketball coach Eddie Jordan didn't go smoothly.

The football season brought some good news, at least initially, as Rutgers started 4-1, including a win against Arkansas. But the Knights since have lost three of four, including a 52-17 setback Saturday against Cincinnati.

The on-field struggles aren't Rutgers' biggest issue, as allegations of a coach verbally abusing a player once again have surfaced. Cornerback Jevon Tyree, who left the program Nov. 6, alleges that defensive coordinator Dave Cohen verbally abused him and threatened him during a study hall session this spring. Tyree and his parents have sought disciplinary action against Cohen.

From NJ.com:
The incident -- which Jevon Tyree said occurred in April with the Rice fallout still fresh -- happened in front of approximately 10 teammates and a tutor, Jevon Tyree said, and it led to the 19-year-old's escalating ostracization, eventually driving him to quit.

Clarice Tyree called it "an outright bullying episode," and Mark Tyree said the behavior soon "transferred to the other coaches." Jevon Tyree, a redshirt freshman on scholarship, said that after the frightening incident, his standing on the team plummeted, along with practice repetitions and any shot at playing time. He said there were team meetings from which he was excluded.

Eventually, after coaches used a wide receiver instead of him in the injury-decimated secondary during a game this month, Tyree quit.

Rutgers on Friday responded to the allegations, saying in a statement that it was an isolated incident, after which Cohen apologized, and that no physical threats were made. According to the school, the incident resurfaced only after Tyree's father approached Hermann to discuss his son's diminishing playing time. The school says Hermann contacted head coach Kyle Flood, who arranged a meeting with the Tyrees and appeared to resolve the situation.

Tyree told NJ.com that there was no apology, and his parents say they never communicated with Hermann, and that they initiated a meeting with Flood, not the other way around.

There are a lot of conflicting statements here, and it's hard to know who to believe. The time between the incident, Tyree's departure from the team and the allegations is somewhat curious. But it's still a messy situation for an athletic program that recently has been under the national microscope for allegations of coaches bullying players.

I wrote in May that the Big Ten simply needs Rutgers to stay out of the news until the school officially enters the league on July 1, 2014. Institutional competency was questioned in the spring, and those questions are still being asked today.

Then again, as long as Rutgers doesn't move its campus, it's all good, right?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.