Former Defensive Coordinator Given Clean Chit Over Bullying Allegations, ReportBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Dave Cohen, a former defensive coordinator at Rutgers, has come out clean in a law firm's investigation.
Cohen was accused of verbally assaulting and threatening to harm Jevon Tyree, a former defensive back on the football program, during a study hall argument last spring. The freshman quit the program Nov.6 amid allegations of discrimination by the coach.
The university officials approached Saiber LLC to review the allegations.
The Florham Park-based law firm found that the former assistant football coach did not intimidate the cornerback, there was no evidence of retaliation against the player and the university appropriately responded to the allegations of abuse.
The investigators said that the defensive coordinator behaved in an 'inappropriate and unprofessional' way in the study hall. But his behavior was not equivalent to that of bullying or harassment.
The 10-page report also found that Cohen did use inappropriate language towards Tyree but Kyle Flood, head coach, disciplined the coach within hours of learning about the incident. Cohen was right away reprimanded firmly and Tyree was not punished for the bullying claims.
Cohen denied the harassment allegations and apologized for 'his participation in the escalation of the banter.' Flood fired Cohen and two other assistants in December based on 'strictly football decisions.' After a few weeks, Cohen was hired as defensive line coach at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
"Our investigation revealed no evidence to suggest that Jevon's role on the team and/or amount of playing time was in any way influenced by the study hall incident in March, or the Tyrees' complaints about such incident in August and/or September 2013," the report said, according to NJ reports.
The findings were based on interviews of nearly 40 people, including Tyree and his parents, Cohen, Flood and Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann. The law firm also examined several related documents, including telephone records and emails.
"It was an unfortunate event, but we were happy to find that within hours of these issues being brought to the attention (of athletics officials), action was taken," university spokesman Pete McDonough. "It's reassuring to know that our systems are working," NY Daily News reports.