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Former Iowa Football Players Criticize Racial Disparities in Program's Culture

Several former Hawkeyes paint the picture of what it was like for Black players in the program, plus the NCAA drops the hammer on Oklahoma State and more.

‘Iowa Culture’

Former Iowa players took to Twitter on Friday to paint a picture of Iowa football for black players:

“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long,” former offensive lineman James Daniels tweeted. It was the first tweet in a thread that also noted Iowa “has realized these problems and things are being done.”

Black players learned to “conform to white culture” when in the football facility, former running back Toren Young tweeted before deleting it. And former defensive back Amani Hooker tweeted it was “difficult for black players to walk around the facility and be themselves.”

“I remember when I used to wear my tank tops in the facility, I used to get called in the coaches office because I had too much tattoos and it wasn't the 'Iowa culture' or the 'Iowa Way,’” former defensive back Marcel Joly tweeted.

Strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, reportedly the nation's highest-paid strength coach at $800,000 per year, was the subject of several concerning allegations.

“I am saddened to hear these comments from some of our former players,” Ferentz responded. “While I wish they had reached out to us directly, I am thankful that these players decided to share their experiences now. As I said earlier this week, the best way to affect change is by listening. I have started reaching out to them on an individual basis to hear their stories first hand.”

Ferentz announced later on Saturday that he'd placed Doyle on administrative leave so an independent review could occur.

NCAA drops hammer

Thirty-two months after the FBI announced an investigation in corruption in college basketball, the NCAA dropped their first hammer on Friday, levying heavy sanctions upon Oklahoma State that went far beyond common sense.

The Cowboys, alleged by the NCAA to have committed one Level I violation, received a 2020–21 postseason ban, reduction of three total scholarships from 2020–23, reduction of recruiting visits (and several other recruiting penalties), and, among other things, three years of probation.

The Level I violation: Former assistant coach Lamont Evans gave $300 to (now) former Oklahoma State player Jeffery Carroll and accepted at least $18,150 in bribes from financial advisors to influence two players, one from Oklahoma State and one from South Carolina, where Evans coached before arriving in Stillwater in 2016.

Postseason ban, scholarship reductions and recruiting limitations for one former assistant coach influencing ONE former player, who was already at Oklahoma State at the time. He did not receive money to lure players to Oklahoma State (or South Carolina) and never gave the Cowboys a legitimate competitive advantage. And the Cowboys were lauded by the NCAA for cooperation with the investigation.

"I find it almost impossible to reconcile the severe penalties imposed by the NCAA for the violations detailed in today's report," Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said.

Holder was being kind; it is impossible to reconcile the severe penalties and this must be viewed with a wider lens of the NCAA sending a message to the entire sport, as they directly said in the release announcing the sanctions:

“The conduct at issue in this case was related to a broader scheme that involved money and influence at the intersection of college and professional basketball,” the committee said in its decision. “The scheme resulted in the arrest and prosecution of multiple individuals—including college basketball coaches—on conspiracy and bribery charges, and it led to significant NCAA reforms.”

As Pat Forde notes in his article, the wider lens also leads to Kansas, North Carolina State, Arizona, LSU and several other programs alleged to have committed similar or, in the case of five Level I violations at Kansas, much worse. And unlike Oklahoma State, most of those programs, most notably Kansas, haven’t cooperated as much with the NCAA.

‘I’d made a mistake’

“Unfortunately, considering all of the circumstances affecting the organization at this time, we have decided not to continue your $400 weekly stipend beyond May 31,” Oakland Athletics’ GM David Forst told minor-league players in an e-mail on May 26. “This was a difficult decision and it’s one that comes at a time when a number of our full-time employees are also finding themselves either furloughed or facing a reduction in salary for the remainder of the season. For all of this, I am sorry.”

Two weeks later, after several MLB teams announced their commitment to pay minor league players, Oakland is reversing course, saying they will pay the $400 weekly stipends to all players.

“I changed my mind after spending a lot of time talking to our team,” team owner John Fisher told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I concluded I’d made a mistake.”

The decision comes with an estimated $1.3 million price tag for Fisher, whom Forbes estimated is worth $2.1 billion, which includes 25 players for eight minor league teams.

Odds & Ends

College football teams that have climbed the most since 2010 … Utah suspended defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley for texting a racial slur to a recruit in 2013 … ICYMI: Torii Hunter had a no-trade clause to Boston because of Red Sox fans’ racist abuse … A construction worker died on Friday while working on the Rams’ and Chargers’ SoFI Stadium … WATCH: Trailer for the ‘30 for 30’ on McGwire and Sosa’s home run chase … Fans are permitted to attend the Memorial Tournament in July … Director Paul Feig recalled the “Dinner Party” episode of The Office.

Chrissy Teigen

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