Lead­er­ship of Fer­entz is ques­tioned at Iowa

Play­ers re­turn to campus amid racism al­le­ga­tions

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS -

Iowa play­ers re­turned to campus Mon­day to pre­pare for vol­un­tary work­outs amid an up­roar af­ter for­mer Hawkeyes al­leged racism and other mis­treat­ment in the pro­gram, the team’s strength coach was placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave and coach Kirk Fer­entz’s lead­er­ship was called into ques­tion.

About two dozen cur­rent play­ers took to so­cial me­dia to voice mes­sages of unity, with sev­eral ref­er­enc­ing the death of Ge­orge Floyd in Min­neapo­lis and the so­cial un­rest in the coun­try. None com­plained di­rectly about his treat­ment in­side the Iowa pro­gram.

“I’m a hu­man be­fore an ath­lete, I’m black be­fore any­thing,” red­shirt fresh­man re­ceiver Desmond Hut­son tweeted. “There is an ob­vi­ous prob­lem and it’s up to us to fix it.”

Fer­entz, the na­tion’s long­est-tenured coach at one school at 22 years, in­di­cated he was caught off guard when he read what ex-Hawkeyes of­fen­sive line­man James Daniels, now with the Chicago Bears, tweeted Fri­day.

“There are too many racial dis­par­i­ties in the Iowa foot­ball pro­gram. Black play­ers have been treated un­fairly for far too long,” Daniels wrote.

Dozens of for­mer play­ers fol­lowed with anec­dotes about bul­ly­ing, racist re­marks and other mis­treat­ment while they were at Iowa. Sev­eral African Amer­i­can for­mer play­ers brought up is­sues they at­trib­uted to Doyle.

For­mer Iowa line­backer Ter­rance Pryor said Doyle had told him he should take up row­ing, then added, “Oh, wait, black peo­ple don’t like boats in wa­ter, do they?” For­mer safety Di­aunte Mor­row al­leged Doyle had told him he would send him “back to the ghetto.” For­mer de­fen­sive back Em­manuel Rugamba told of Doyle ad­mon­ish­ing a black team­mate and then asked him why he walked with swag­ger. “I’ll put you back on the streets,” Doyle told the team­mate, ac­cord­ing to Rugamba.

Doyle, who earns $800,000 a year and is the high­est-paid strength coach in col­lege foot­ball, was placed on paid leave Satur­day night. He is­sued a state­ment Sun­day deny­ing any “un­eth­i­cal be­hav­ior or bias” based on race.

Black for­mer play­ers also said they were tar­geted for drug tests more of­ten than their white team­mates. The tests are sup­posed to be ran­dom.

“I feel the way we’ve done it has been eq­ui­table and fair,” Fer­entz said.

The uni­ver­sity is con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion look­ing into the for­mer play­ers’ com­plaints. No ath­letic depart­ment per­son­nel are in­volved.

Fer­entz said he would cre­ate an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to ad­dress con­cerns about the cul­ture in the pro­gram. The com­mit­tee will be chaired by Mike Daniels, a for­mer Hawk­eye, and in­clude cur­rent and for­mer play­ers and mem­bers of the ath­letic depart­ment.

“I did ask mul­ti­ple play­ers if they feel like I’m part of the prob­lem or if they feel like we can’t move for­ward with me here,” Fer­entz told re­porters Sun­day. “That’s not what I’ve heard thus far. But my com­mit­ment is to us hav­ing a good pro­gram and hav­ing a healthy team and im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.”


Iowa strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Chris Doyle (top left) has been placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave amid al­le­ga­tions of racism and other mis­treat­ment in the pro­gram. Iowa coach Kirk Fer­entz (left) said he has cre­ated an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to deal with con­cerns about the pro­gram’s cul­ture, and the uni­ver­sity is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

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