IOWA CITY, Iowa – A day after announcing Derrick Mitchell Jr. was suspended from the team, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that the sophomore running back from St. Louis had been reinstated.
Ferentz said he spoke with Mitchell Jr. to get his side of the story Monday night, was satisfied with what he heard and allowed him to rejoin the program on Tuesday morning.
"After gaining a full understanding of the situation, we were really pleased to welcome him back," Ferentz said.
Mitchell traveled to Ames with the team on Friday to prepare for the game against Iowa State, Ferentz said. He was then sent home Friday after the coach was made aware of a letter the running back received from the university. The coach did not specify what the correspondence said.
"At that point, I really wasn’t too interested in investigating. We were in Ames less than 24 hours before kickoff," Ferentz said.
Monday evening, Ferentz said in a university press release: “Derrick has been suspended due to football program and student life code of conduct violation. This is not a legal issue. Derrick is working through the issues at hand in regards to being in good standing as a University of Iowa student. We will follow the established university protocol as we move forward.”
Ferentz reiterated on Tuesday that Mitchell’s case was not a legal issue.
"Based on what I know, that’s what I fully anticipate and we’ll certainly abide by whatever the university decides but I wouldn’t have brought him back if there was anything beyond what we’re talking about right now," he said.
The coach said he probably could, and maybe should, have met with Mitchell sooner to resolve the issue. He issued the press release Monday to stop the rumor mill from churning.
"We’re busy on Sundays and Mondays, too, so we got to it (Monday) night and I feel very comfortable with what I learned," Ferentz said.
Ferentz named Mitchell the team’s third-string running back heading into the season. He did not play in the opener due to injury and then missed Game 2 at Iowa State. He converted from wide receiver to the backfield in the spring.