Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Michigan Tuesday: What Is Going on at Iowa?

We have seen programs explode when a coach stays way too long and has too much power.  That situation seems to be going on at Iowa where Kirk Ferentz is showing similar signs of a program needing a change at its highest position. 

The recent news is that Iowa has settled a lawsuit from 12 former black players that alleged racial discrimination from Ferentz and his staff.  Iowa has settled the lawsuit with a $4.175 payment to the former players who were looking for $20M and the dismissal of AD Gary Barta, both Kirk and Brian Ferentz.  The coaches were removed from the lawsuit but one of the Board Members who agreed to settle the case called for Iowa to review the employment of Barta and Brian Ferentz.  

Kirk of course didn't agree with the settlement: “The settlement negotiations took place between plaintiff’s counsel and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office which represents the University of Iowa and the Board of Regents. These discussions took place entirely without the knowledge or consent of the coaches who were named in the lawsuit,” Ferentz’s statement read. “In fact, the parties originally named disagree with the decision to settle fully believing the case would have been dismissed with prejudice before trial.”

To recap this issue:
  • In 2020, Iowa hires an outside law firm to investigate Iowa's Football race issues
  • Iowa fires S&C Coach Chris Doyle and gives him $1.1M in severance 
  • Investigators found that many current and former Black players felt unhappy and unwelcome in the program, where the ideal player “was built around the stereotype of a clean-cut, white athlete from a midwestern background.” They described an environment in ”which a small number of coaches felt empowered to bully and demean athletes, especially Black athletes,” the report found.  “In sum, the program’s rules perpetuated racial or cultural biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity,” the report concludes. “The program over-monitored players to the point that they experienced heightened anxiety and maintained a culture that allowed a small group of coaches to demean players.”
  • Iowa hires a group of former black players to recommend best practices to fix the issues. 

  • That group comes back with the recommendation of firing Kirk Frentz and staff, who thanks the committee for their time and shuts down said committee. 

  • Former Black Players then sue the University of Iowa 

  • Reports have come out that the hiring of Brian Frentz breaks Iowa nepotism rules.  When it's found out the Iowa Football OC actually reports directly to the AD, which only makes sense to get around the rule. 

  • Then Brian becomes the laughing stock of college football as his offense is historically bad in 2022. 

  • Kirk acts like a protective father in his press conference and makes fun of the media and their job vs. his job. 

  • Now the lawsuit settlement 

This is the program Erick All and Cade picked?

I don't know another coach in America that could make it through the above bullets with his job intact, while still employing his son.   


BlueManGroup said...

Sounds like Iowa's got Ferentz in low places.

Brady2017 said...

Wow, good read! Never heard about this mess at Iowa until now. Very interesting!

Chowman said...

The Iowa situation is reminiscent of the final days of JoPa at PSU: completely obstinate. Ferentz is out of touch and even worse thinks he's above it all. Although it wasn't as scandalous, Ferentz is as tone deaf as Bobby Bowden was when he drove FSU into the ground to the point they've never gotten back to their former glory. Maybe an important trait of being a successful coach is to know when its over and how to walk away with grace!

BlueManGroup said...

That's what Ferentz are for.