At least in the short-term, the status of Tyler Barnes as an Iowa football program employee remains secure. The long-term? That’s up in the air.
Barnes was hired by the IU football program as an administrative assistant in January of 2012 on an “emergency basis,” which meant that a search was not required to fill the position. In November of that year, the Associated Press wrote, “[Kirk] Ferentz pushed to extend Barnes’ appointment” beyond the one-year temporary position. Later that month, the athletics department asked for and received from the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity a waiver that would extend Barnes’ employment through Jan. 16, 2014, and increase his pay from $32,000 annually to $38,000 while also providing medical benefits.
The issue surrounding Barnes and Ferentz arose when it was discovered that the former had been dating the latter’s daughter at the time of his hiring to the administrative position, and then became engaged to Joanne Ferentz six months later. The Hawkeyes head coach did not inform the school of the relationship — “I didn’t see any reason to,” Ferentz said — and university officials, including athletic director Gary Barta, did not learn of the potential conflict of interest until it was revealed to them by the Cedar Rapids Gazette last week.
As a result of the latest of what some are a calling another case of nepotism involving Ferentz — Brian Ferentz, the coach’s son, was hired over 100 other applicants for the Hawkeyes’ offensive line job last February — the university’s Human Resources Department will conduct a further review of the situation. Barta also released a statement Thursday evening addressing Barnes’ status.
Here it is, in its entirety:
Due to the change in personal status of Iowa football program employee Tyler Barnes, there will be a review of his long-term employment options related to his current position. Barnes is engaged to Joanne Ferentz, the daughter of head coach Kirk Ferentz.
By all accounts, Tyler has been a model employee within the athletics department and other areas across campus the past few years. I am not aware of any complaints or concerns related to Tyler’s job performance during that time period.
I have reviewed Tyler’s job duties, and I am comfortable with him fulfilling these duties at this time. In the short term, and effective immediately, Tyler will report to associate athletics director Rick Klatt in our external relations unit. This supervisory move makes sense, as several of Tyler’s current duties within the football program focus on website, internet and social media functions associated with recruiting. This will also help mitigate his change in personal status in the short term.
Again, his longer term employment status will be determined as part of the UI’s human resources review.