Ex-Iowa players seek $20 million, firing of Kirk Ferentz over racial discrimination

Sports

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz follows warmups before an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Eight Black former Iowa football players are seeking $20 million in compensation and for athletics director Gary Barta, head coach Kirk Ferentz and assistant coach Brian Ferentz to be fired over what they say was intentional racial discrimination during their careers with the Hawkeyes. 

The group made the demands in a certified, 21-page letter sent to the University.

Additionally, other demands were made, including attorney’s fees; the creation of a permanent Black male senior administrator position in Iowa athletics; mandatory anti-racist training for staff; the creation of a board of advisers including Black players and anti-racist professionals to oversee the program; and tuition waivers for any Black athlete who did not graduate with a degree during Ferentz’s tenure. 

According to the letter, if the demands are not met to their satisfaction by Monday, Oct. 19, the former players would pursue a lawsuit “to ensure they are rightfully compensated for their emotional, mental and bodily damages and that Iowa is appropriately held accountable for its unlawful, discriminatory conduct.” 

On Sunday, the University of Iowa general counsel Carroll Reasoner formally replied to say the football program had previously taken steps to implement some of the demands but unequivocally added, “We respectfully decline your monetary and personnel demands.” 

Effectively, no $20 million settlement and no further firings.  

To date, 21-year strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle is the only person to lose his job over racial-bias allegations that shook the program in early June.

The eight players involved in the letter are Maurice Fleming, Andre Harris, Marcel Joly, Akrum Wadley, Kevonte Martin-Manley, Aaron Mends, Jonathan Parker, and Reggie Spearman.

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