A Rutgers University football coach did not bully cornerback Jevon Tyree and the university handled the student's allegations of mistreatment appropriately, according to an independent investigator's report released today. The report was prepared by Saiber, a Florham Park-based law firm that interviewed Tyree and others involved in the case that made headlines last fall. Tyree and his parents went public in November with allegations the cornerback was bullied by then-defensive coordinator Dave Cohen. Tyree said Cohen verbally abused and physically threatened him during a study hall confrontation last spring. Tyree said he was then ostracized by the coaching staff before quitting the team in November. Investigators found Cohen behaved in an "inappropriate and unprofessional" way in the study hall. But his actions did not rise to the level of bullying or harassment, the report said. The probe also found head coach Kyle Flood took appropriate action within hours of learning of the situation and Tyree was not retaliated against for making the bullying claims. "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. Cohen denied the bullying allegations and said he apologized "the following day for his participation in the escalation of the banter" in the study hall, according to a Rutgers statement released in November. Tyree's parents accused Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann of mishandling their son's complaint and refusing to meet with them for months. Hermann claimed she spoke with the Tyree family by phone shortly after the player made the bullying accusations. Hermann met with Clarice and Mark Tyree Nov. 20 in a two-hour session arranged by the Rev. DeForest "Buster" Soaries Jr. at his Somerset church, located near the family's home. The two sides came to a public truce in which Hermann admitted she should have met with the family earlier. Tyree's parents also acknowledged the athletic director may have spoken to someone representing himself as a member of the family. The investigators said they were unable to determine if Hermann spoke with someone related to Tyree. "We were unable to resolve the confusion regarding the telephone communications AD Hermann had with a man who she understood to be Mark Tyree. Although AD Hermann initially believed that she had spoken to Mark Tyree twice in September, she ultimately understood at the November 20th meeting with Mark, Clarice and Rev. Soaries that the calls she received were not, in fact, from Mark Tyree," the report said.
Rutgers releases investigator's report on Jevon Tyree football bullying allegations
Newark Star-Ledger | Jan 28