On Monday the NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions announced the Nebraska football program violated NCAA rules for countable coaches and head coach Scott Frost violated head coach responsibility rules during the 2020 season.
According to the NCAA’s release, “Frost and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that a former football special teams analyst provided technical or tactical instruction to student-athletes during practices and film sessions. He also assisted in tactical decisions during games. Because he was a non-coaching staff member, his instruction of student-athletes caused the program to exceed the number of permissible coaches in violation of NCAA rules.”
The non-coaching staff member is Jonathan Rutledge, who was hired in February 2020 as a special teams analyst. As an analyst, NCAA rules limited Rutledge to reviewing film with players, holding meetings and setting up drills to be run during practice. Only the 10 full-time assistant coaches can actively coach players during practices or be involved in game-day coaching.
Rutledge was let go at Nebraska in January 2021, with Frost naming outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson as the Huskers’ special teams coordinator.
According to the NCAA’s release, while Frost did address concerns about Rutledge’s instruction of players with Rutledge directly, Frost did not appropriately monitor Rutledge or notify compliance staff that violations had occurred. As a result, Frost violated head coach responsibility rules.
Here’s the list of penalties to Frost and the Nebraska program, as approved by the Committee on Infractions:
- A one-year extension to the current probationary period (through April 2023).
- A $10,000 fine.
- A one-year show-cause order for Frost, plus a five-day suspension from all coaching duties during the championship segment of the 2022 football season.
- A reduction of the number of football countable coaches by one for two days of practice during the spring 2022 season.
- All non-coaching staff members will be removed from practice and competition for five consecutive days during the championship segment of the 2022 season.
Shortly after the NCAA announced the violations, Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts issued a statement:
“I am appreciative of the diligent efforts of our University of Nebraska staff in working to bring this matter to a close. We have had outstanding collaboration with the NCAA, and I want to thank the NCAA staff for their time and professionalism throughout this process.
“It is important for the Nebraska Athletic Department and football program to put this matter behind us and turn our full attention to the upcoming season. We are pleased with the outcome and believe the negotiated resolution is fair and equitable. At Nebraska we are committed to running an athletic department that is fully compliant with all NCAA rules.”
Frost and Alberts previously addressed the NCAA investigation last August following a report released on the matter by The Action Network. They were unable to speak on specifics at the time, but Alberts said that Nebraska was cooperating with the NCAA on the investigation. He also said that the investigation itself was not a surprise after he was hired in early July.
“Whenever there is an ongoing NCAA investigation, you’re aware of it,” Alberts said.
The report also cited sources who said that Nebraska held strength and conditioning workouts, directed by the strength staff at an off-campus location, when such organized workouts were prohibited by NCAA rules. Frost said last August that everything he and Nebraska’s staff did “was approved by athletic department administration and campus administration.” The NCAA later cleared Nebraska of any wrongdoing on that allegation, saying the workouts were “permissible” and did not violate the NCAA’s rules.