Former Iowa Players Threaten Lawsuit If Ferentz Is Not Fired
Eight former Iowa Hawkeye football players are demanding money from the school and the firing of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, and athletic director Gary Barta, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Both The Daily Iowan and The Des Moines Register reported that the eight former players, all of whom are Black, are being represented by civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons. Solomon-Simmons sent a registered letter to the Barta, the Ferentzes, and U of I President Bruce Harreld with the demands and said that a lawsuit would be filed Monday if the demands were not met. The Gazette reports that the former players include Maurice Fleming, Marcel Joly, Akrum Wadley, Aaron Mends, Kevonte Martin-Manly, Andre Harris, Jonathan Parker, and Reggie Spearman.
The Daily Iowan and the Des Moines Register both report that Iowa sent a response to Solomon-Simmons, and that they were declining the demands.
Iowa AD Gary Barta commissioned an independent report by a Kansas City law firm after many former Iowa players came forward on social media with accusations of racial bias within the Iowa football program. The Gazette reports that the independent review found that rules within the Iowa program like the dress code and a ban on social media "perpetuated racial or cultural biases." Those rules have since been relaxed. Strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who many of the complaints centered around, was also dismissed.
The Gazette also reports that during the virtual media day just two weeks ago, Iowa players expressed their satisfaction with progress being made on key issues. Brian Ferentz also apologized to former players during an in person coaches press conference. Many current Iowa players including Mekhi Sargent and Tyrone Tracy Jr. came out and publicly supported the offensive coordinator.