External review found racial bias in Iowa football program


An external review of Iowa’s football program found an environment where many Black players felt boring and monotonous, and recommended that coach Kirk Ferent and athletic director Gary Barta take steps to improve the culture.

Iowa conducted a review conducted by the Kansas City-based Husk Blackwell firm, claiming racial disparities in the football program of more than 60 former players in early June. The review received a number of positive comments from current and former players, including toward Ferrantz, but identified three members of the coaching staff who were from the on-field or strength and conditioning program who “abused their power and verbalized Roop was an abusive and abusive player. “

Iowa reached a separate agreement on June 14 with longtime strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, the subject of numerous allegations of misconduct by former black players. Doyle, who denied any wrongdoing on the basis of race, received approximately $ 1.1 million (15 months’ salary) as part of the agreement.

Hesh Blackwell said it is providing four personnel reports that summarize specific allegations of misconduct by current and former Iowa football employees.

Several players told investigators that Iowa’s issues around the race were “not just a Chris Doyle problem” and that Doyle should not be a “scapegoat” for broader issues. A news conference is scheduled for 2 pm ET in Ferentz and Barta.

“I read the report, and it is clear that the climate and culture will change and change according to our football program,” University President Bruce Harold said in a prepared statement. “Our student-athletes must have the ability to be true to themselves, and we cannot and will not tolerate the systemic process that impedes authenticity.”

Ferentz, who has led the program in Iowa since 1999, said in a prepared statement that the review “brings us face to face with allegations of unequal treatment, where our culture has led to homogeneity, which many black players feel That they were unable to show. In their authentic form.

“I want to apologize for the pain and frustration they felt, at a time when I was confident that I could help each of them become a better player and a better person.”

Hawk Blackwell spoke with 111 people, including 45 current and 29 former Iowa football players, and 36 current and former program staffers. The review covers areas such as differential treatment of black players, retention of black players, allegations about NFL draft prospects and the overall racial climate in Iowa.

A coach told investigators that he does not believe Iowa runs a racist program, but is hurt by one or two coaches with too much power. The same coach echoed the accusations of several players, saying that it is more difficult for Black players because they must conform to different standards.

The report states, “Another coach said that the players told him the Iowa Way, which means ‘you act like a white person and can’t be yourself’.”

Several players reported that investigators said they believed Iowa team rules targeted black players, with one stating that the coaches used sanctions to “eliminate black culture.” Many former players stated that black players from Iowa were subject to stricter and more frequent discipline than their white peers.

Reportedly, a coach said that he brought the difference in treatment of black players to Ferrantz “with no results at some point in the last four years.” A separate report from Iowa’s Athletics Diversity Task Force also cited an employee who said black players received harsh penalties and were not welcome at the football building. Ferrantz told investigators that he read the Diversity Task Force report in 2019 and shared “relevant information” with his staff.

A coach also told Hesh Blackwell that black players were held to different standards about weight loss and weight goals, but did not inform anyone “due to fear of retaliation”.

Several former players described verbal abuse received from coaches, including a former black player who told investigators that “it seems that every Black player made two attacks the day he entered Iowa … I Was either a criminal or a dumb mother —. To these people.

Hesh Blackwell investigators found that many players had made positive comments about Ferrantz and the coaches of his position, but many still felt “sad and unwelcome” at Lowa.

Tom VanHaren of ESPN contributed to this report.

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