Ferentz Comfortable With Being Able To Recruit After Release Of Independent Review

John Bohnenkamp

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz has had to answer a lot of questions since the original allegations of racial disparities within his program came out in June.

He knows he's going to be answering more when it comes to future recruiting.

Iowa has 17 commitments for the 2021 recruiting class, so there is more work to be done before it's completed. The 2022 recruiting will continue to gain speed in the coming weeks.

Ferentz knows that when he is able to start making recruiting visits again — college football recruiting is still in a dead period because of the COVID-19 pandemic — the allegations, and what he is doing to fix Iowa's culture, will be a topic of conversation.

"Just like our players on campus, we've been very transparent and very direct with our recruits, too, and so they're not reading about this as yesterday's news," Ferentz said during his press conference on Thursday. "They're hearing it from us, and I would say they've been fantastic. We've been well-received, and we've talked about the things that we consider to be issues that have been addressed and things we're going to do moving forward. They've been absolutely fantastic. But it's a long road until December or whenever signing ends up being, but the players have been great."

The independent review by Kansas City., Mo., law firm Husch Blackwell detailed many of the allegations against Ferentz and his staff, concluding that the program's rules "perpetuated racial or cultural biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity."

Two paragraphs in the report dealt with what current and former players felt about recruiting:

Many current and former players informed investigators that they were told the program has a “family atmosphere” during recruitment but found that to be untrue when they arrived. After arriving on campus, these student-athletes reported quickly learning that the coaching staff and program required them to quickly adapt to the culture of the Iowa football program. Some of the players felt like this culture did not resemble the family structure that was portrayed during the recruiting process. One student stated that immediately upon arrival on campus, freshmen were “secluded from the rest of the team” and told by a coach that the program was “going to strip who they are and teach them the Iowa Way.” Players felt deceived because the coaching staff promoted a family atmosphere throughout the recruiting process yet neglected to inform them of the program’s requirement that they conform to a specific mold.

Head Coach Ferentz stated that, during the recruiting process, he personally informs every prospective player that the Iowa football program is not for everyone. Head Coach Ferentz told investigators that every student is told “it’s your choice.” He tells every player “you have earned a scholarship and the right to make the best choice” for yourself. Head Coach Ferentz encourages prospects to rely on their parents and high school coaches to make the best decision about which university to attend. He encourages prospects to speak with current players to get the best information about the program.

Ferentz knows this will be a subject when he gets out to recruit again.

"I haven't given it a lot of thought," Ferentz said. "I'll tell you this, I'm not quite 65 yet, but I've never really had any difficulty going to anybody's home in good situations or bad situations because it gets down to telling the truth, it really does, being transparent, talking honestly and directly. I really haven't had that be a challenge and I don't anticipate that.

"It's like being here today. There are questions I'll have to answer, I'm sure, with some, but that's part of what we do, and what we do is all out there right now, so it's my job to take responsibility for whatever may have happened and make sure that we are taking the necessary stops to show growth, to show improvement and then continue those steps moving forward."

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