Gary Barta

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Investigation into Iowa football found ‘the program’s rules perpetuated racial or cultural biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity’


The Iowa football program’s culture has suffered from racial bias against Black players and bullying by a small number of current and former coaches, according to an investigation report released Thursday.  University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld said the report by an outside law firm shows that the “climate and culture must and will change within our football program.”

“Our student-athletes must have the ability to be true to themselves, and we cannot and will not tolerate a systemic process that inhibits authenticity,” Harreld said in a statement.

Coach Kirk Ferentz, the longest-tenured head coach in college football, appears likely to keep his job, however. The report found that many players believe he has already made several positive changes in recent weeks.

Ferentz and athletic director Gary Barta were scheduled to hold a news conference later Thursday.

The university hired the Husch Blackwell law firm in June to review the program after dozens of former players, most of them Black, spoke out on social media to allege racial disparities and mistreatment.

In addition to a public report summarizing the findings, the firm provided the university with four confidential personnel reports on current and former staff who were accused of mistreating players. Harreld said the university will address the allegations against those coaches, who were not publicly identified.

Last month, the university cut ties with longtime strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, awarding him a $1.1 million severance agreement. Several players had cited Doyle as the major source of their mistreatment, an allegation he has denied.

But the review found the cultural problems went well beyond Doyle.

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.”

For the complete report, click HERE.

Iowa ditches embattled strength coach Chris Doyle, who is accused of contributing to ‘racial disparities in the football program’

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One longtime member of the Iowa football program is now officially a former member.

Sunday, Iowa announced that athletic director Gary Barta would conduct a press conference Monday at 2 p.m. ET.  While the subject matter wasn’t divulged, we now know what it’ll be as Iowa announced late this morning that it has reached a separation agreement with football strength coach Chris Doyle.  The separation is effective immediately.

June 6, Iowa announced that Doyle had been placed on administrative leave.  Additionally, the school stated, an independent review will be conducted into allegations that Doyle directly contributed to “racial disparities in the Iowa football program.”

The development came after former Hawkeye football players took to social media en masse in the past couple of days to accuse Doyle of creating a hostile environment. Specifically, as it pertained to black Iowa football players. One former player spoke of Doyle mocking black football players that “made you walk around the football facility on eggshells … and caused anxiety that could be unbearable at times with your dreams and career on the line.”

“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program,” former starting offensive lineman James Daniels wrote in a tweet. “Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”

In addition to the separation agreement, the school’s release also stated that the University of Iowa Office of General Counsel has engaged the Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell to conduct an independent review of issues and allegations relating to racial disparities within the football program.

“We wish Chris the best moving forward in his career,” Barta said in a portion of a statement. Interestingly, no statement from head coach Kirk Ferentz was included.

Doyle has been the strength coach at Iowa since 1999. Last year, he was the highest-paid at his position in the country.

According to the school’s separation agreement, Doyle will be paid 15 months worth of base salary.  He will be paid $556,249.50 in two lump-sum payments, the first on Aug. 1, 2020, and the second on Jan. 1, 2021.  The university will also pay Doyle’s health and dental benefits for the next 15 months as well.

“Iowa City has been home to our family for 21 years,” Doyle, who has vehemently denied the allegations, said in his statement. “I am grateful Iowa football provided an opportunity to work with incredible players, coaches, and support staff. I have worked diligently to make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes, support them as they speak out, and look forward to continued growth. I am confident that my record and character will be confirmed in the course of the independent review. The University and I have reached an agreement and it is time to move on from Iowa football. My family and I are looking forward to the next chapter.”

Doyle’s son, a linebacker on the Iowa football team, announced last week that he is transferring from the Hawkeyes.

Iowa announces one positive test for coronavirus, 236 negative

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As if Iowa football didn’t have enough on its plate.

The past couple of days, Iowa has been forced to very publicly deal with “racial disparities” within its football program.  Former players have accused the staff of creating a hostile environment for its black football players.  Specifically, that longtime strength coach Chris Doyle has made racist comments in front of players.  Doyle has vehemently denied the accusations.

Monday, Iowa confirmed that one individual connected to the football program has tested positive for COVID-19.  The school also stated there were 236 negative tests. It’s not been revealed whether the positive test came from a player, coach, staffer or other individuals.

According to the school, a protocol was enacted after the positive test was received, including contact tracing procedures.  The mandatory protocol also includes isolation for the individuals who test positive, and quarantine for those individuals who might have been exposed to someone with the virus.

The program began testing individuals May 29.  The Hawkeyes resumed voluntary on-campus workouts earlier Monday.

“Our medical staff has established our procedures and is leading our procedures in addressing positive test results,” said athletic director Gary Barta in a statement. “The safety of all student-athletes and staff is critical. We have anticipated and planned for positive test results.”