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Rutgers Throws Quarterback Nelson Off Team After Assault Arrest

Quarterback Philip Nelson
Quarterback Philip Nelson transferred to New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Rutgers University in January and would have had to sit out the 2014 season under college transfer rules. Photographer: Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Rutgers University dismissed transfer quarterback Philip Nelson from its football program, two days after the former University of Minnesota passer was arrested on probable assault charges following a fight that left another former football player from Minnesota in critical condition.

Nelson, 20, was arrested early on the morning of May 11 in his home town of Mankato, Minnesota, after police found 24-year-old Isaac Kolstad injured as a victim of an attack. Charges of third-degree assault were being requested against Nelson, the Mankato Department of Public Safety said on its website. A second suspect is still being sought.

Nelson didn’t return a message sent to his Rutgers e-mail address. Jim Fleming, Nelson’s attorney, didn’t immediately return a voicemail message left at his office in Mankato.

Kolstad, 24, a former football player for Minnesota State University, Mankato, was found unconscious after being kicked twice in the head, according to the StarTribune of Minneapolis. As of Sunday evening he remained in critical condition, had undergone surgery and his brain had sustained permanent damage, the newspaper said, citing a statement by Kolstad’s father.

“The Rutgers football family’s thoughts and prayers are with Isaac Kolstad and his family,” Scarlet Knights coach Kyle Flood said in a statement while disclosing Nelson’s dismissal on the school’s website.

Kolstad’s family has set up a website to provide updates on his status while accepting donations and prayers.

Nelson transferred to New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Rutgers in January and would have had to sit out the 2014 season under college transfer rules. He started nine games and played in 12 last year for Minnesota, completing 94 of 186 pass attempts for 1,306 yards and nine touchdowns.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at Dex McLuskey

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