With less than two weeks until the opener, Rutgers could have done without all the distractions that piled up on Tuesday.
Not only are five players suspended for the first half against Norfolk State -- including quarterback Chris Laviano and receiver Leonte Carroo -- but head coach Kyle Flood might be forced to join them. Actually, there's a chance he could miss more time than that.
NJ.com's Keith Sargeant reported Tuesday afternoon, citing two sources, that Rutgers' office of general counsel is investigating Flood for alleged impermissible contact with a starting cornerback's professor. If that contact occurred, Flood could face a "public reprimand, suspension or termination from his contract," Sargeant wrote, citing an anonymous athletics official.
Again, Flood is only being investigated. There is no evidence yet that he acted improperly, and it's possible this is all some giant misunderstanding. But, at the very least, controversy certainly doesn't help the team -- even if Flood forcefully denied any allegations before practice.
"I think that article not only insults my integrity, but insults the integrity of our faculty," he said.
Obviously, none of this is good news for the Scarlet Knights, as the timing could only be worse if this all actually happened during the season. The Knights are embroiled in a heated quarterback battle between Laviano and Hayden Rettig -- and now Rettig will start Week 1 by default.
It's not as if Rutgers has to worry about Norfolk State, but the concern here is how all this news might impact the Knights moving forward. Could Flood really be blamed if his focus was elsewhere while being investigated? Can the team really be blamed if it's worried about what happens next to Flood? Will Flood remain Rutgers' coach?
This isn't an easy position to be in. One of these stories is enough bad news for a single day -- but two? That only leads to brighter spotlights and the potential for hotter coaching seats.
The best-case scenario here is that this investigation comes to as speedy a resolution as possible. You can't move on with the future while the past is looming over you.
Until this is all resolved, it will be a distraction. And Rutgers can't afford for that to linger past Sept. 5.