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Home / Sport / The external review finds a racial stance, bullying in the Iowa football program

The external review finds a racial stance, bullying in the Iowa football program



An external review of the Iowa football program found an environment where many black players felt bullying and contempt and recommended coach Kirk Ferentz and athletics director Gary Barta take steps to improve the culture.

Iowa commissioned a review by more than 60 former players in early June by Kansas-based Husch Blackwell, based on a racial inequality in the football program. The review found many positive comments from current and former players about Ferentz, but identified three coaching staff members – both on the pitch and from the strength and conditioning program – “who abused their strength and verbally raped and mocked the players.”

Iowa June 14 He reached a separation agreement with longtime strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who has been the subject of numerous allegations of misconduct by former Black players. Doyle, who denied any racial violations, received about $ 1.1 million as part of the deal. USD (15 months salary).

Husch Blackwell said he provides four staff reports summarizing specific allegations of misconduct by current and former Iowa football employees.

Several players told investigators that Iowa’s problems around the race were not “just Chris Doyle’s problem” and that Doyle should not be a “scapegoat” for broader problems. The Ferentz and Barta press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.

“I read the report and it is clear that the climate and culture have and will change during our football program,” University President Bruce Harreld said in a statement. “Our student-athletes need to be able to be confident in themselves, and we can’t and can’t tolerate a systemic process that stifles authenticity.”

Ferentz, who has led the Iowa program since 1999, said in a report that the review “brings us face to face with suspicions of unequal treatment when our culture of binding equality has made many black players feel unable to perform. as their authentic selves.

“I want to apologize for the pain and frustration they felt at the time I was entrusted with helping each of them become a better player and a better person.”

Husch Blackwell spoke to 111 people, including 45 current and 29 former Iowa footballers and 36 current and former program staff. The review looked at areas such as different treatment of black players, retention of black players, suspicions about NFL project plans, and the general racial climate in Iowa.

The coach told investigators he did not believe Iowa was running a racist program, but was hurt by one or two coaches with too much strength. The same coach repeated the accusations of many players, saying it is harder for black players because they have to meet different standards.

“The second coach said the players told him that the Iowa road means ‘you act like a white man and can’t be yourself,'” the report said.

Several of the players surveyed told investigators that they believed the Iowa team’s rules were aimed at black players. In one case, coaches restricted “black culture”. Many former players said Iowa Black players were tougher and more disciplined than their white teammates.

According to the report, the coach said that he has raised the issue of black players at Ferentz several times over the past four years without any change. A separate report from the Iowa Athletics Diversity Task Force also mentioned an employee who said black players received tougher penalties and did not feel welcome in the football building. Ferentz told researchers it read the report of the Diversity Task Force in 2019. And shared “important information” with his staff.

The coach also told Husch Blackwell that the black players met different standards for weight loss and weight loss, but did not report it to anyone “for fear of revenge.”

Several former players described the verbal harassment they received from coaches, including a former black player who told investigators that “every black player seemed to have had two blows the day we entered Iowa. I was either a criminal or a stupid mother — er to these guys. ”

Researchers at Husch Blackwell found that many players had positive comments about Ferentz and his positional coaches, but many still felt “unhappy and unwanted” in Iowa.

ESPN Tom VanHaaren contributed to this report.


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