By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Despite current members of the Iowa football coaching staff being implicated in allegations of racial bias made by former players, it appears that former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle is the only one that will be punished.
Doyle and Iowa reached a separation agreement June 15 and an independent review of the allegations by Kansas City law firm Husch Blackwell was released Thursday.
“The report does indicate that they provided us with four personnel reports on either current or former employees,” athletic director Gary Barta said. “And based on that information – if it was anything where there was an allegation that was directed toward an individual. And so, based on that information, the first thing I’m going to share with you is that there are no personnel changes planned. We will, and have, begun the process of internal follow up. That internal follow up will occur privately and it will follow university H.R. policies and procedures.”
According to the Husch Blackwell report, several former players said the program’s culture issues are “not just a Chris Doyle problem” and that Doyle should not be a “scapegoat”.
Former Iowa players have implicated linebackers coach Seth Wallace and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, who is the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, but the Husch Blackwell review does not specifically name either.
Former running back Akrum Wadley accused Brian Ferentz of asking him if he was going rob a liquor store while Wadley was wearing a face covering during cold weather.
Former defensive lineman Jack Kallenberger accused Wallace of bullying because of a learning disability that Kallenberger struggles with.
“I know this,” Barta said. “I’m going to take those four letters that I received and I’m going to go through all of them. And based on what they share with us, we’re going to make decisions to move forward.
“My relationship with Brian, I’ve shared in previous conversations, we really do have personnel discussions, we really do have performance evaluations. I really do have conversations with Brian because of the fact that his dad is the head coach. But beyond that, again, we’ll take anything in those letters and react to them based on what’s in those letters.”
Since Brian Ferentz was named offensive coordinator following the 2016 season, there has been talk among Iowa fans that he may become his father’s successor as the head coach.
Barta was asked Thursday if he had learned anything about Brian Ferentz that would eliminate him as a candidate for the head coach position when the time comes.
Due to Iowa nepotism laws, Brian Ferentz reports directly to Barta.
“I’m just going to continue to move forward and have conversations with him privately about what his career goals are and any way that I can help as he’s working towards those goals,” Barta said.
As for Wadley’s accusations, they don’t stop with Brian Ferentz.
Wadley made a statement June 29 through Robert T. Green of Pre-Postgame that said Kirk Ferentz took away his meal card as a form of punishment and made a derogatory statement during a press conference leading up to the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl, among other accusations that also included Doyle.
Kirk Ferentz spoke out Wadley’s allegations for the first time Thursday.
“(It was a) surprise,” Ferentz said. “I won’t comment on any individuals. I commented on a couple who I spoke with and did not identify who I spoke with on June 6. But it was surprise and also to some degree — surprise because some of the things were just flat-out not true. Not true. I mean, we have never held back a black card from any player. I’m not a great record keeper. Ben Hensen is meticulous. Never happened.
“It was stated, I think, that I said derogatory things in a press conference about an individual. Those are a matter of record, and some of you may have looked those up. I’ll stand behind what I said in those press conferences. As recently as May 26, his mom and I were having good conversations. I had no sense it was that bad, quite frankly.”