The letter promised that a lawsuit would be filed Monday if the demands were not met.
Other demands included the creation of a Black male senior administrator position in the athletic department; mandatory anti-racist training for staff; creation of a board of advisers that would include Black players and anti-racist professionals to oversee the football program; and tuition waivers for any Black athlete who did not graduate with a degree during Kirk Ferentz’s 22-year run as coach. It also asks that the school pay attorney’s fees.
The school responded Sunday that it already had taken steps to meet some of the demands, and general counsel Carroll Reasoner added, “We respectfully decline your monetary and personnel demands.”
The letter is the latest in a summer of turmoil in the football program. In early June, Iowa parted with Chris Doyle, who had been the strength and conditioning coach for 21 years and was the main target of allegations by players who contended he had demeaned and bullied them. In a statement in June, Doyle said he never “crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based on race.”
Barta called the decision to part with Doyle “one piece of a plan that’s going to be needed for us to move forward.” A month later, a scathing external review by Kansas City law firm Husch Blackwell was revealed and Iowa President Bruce Harreld said the “climate and culture must and will change within our football program.” Ferentz apologized to former Black players at a news conference and promised to continue to work on changes.
“This review brings us face-to-face with allegations of uneven treatment, where our culture that mandated uniformity caused many Black players to feel they were unable to show up as their authentic selves,” Ferentz said of the report. “I want to apologize for the pain and frustration they felt at a time when I was trusted to help each of them become a better player and a better person.”
Four unidentified current and former coaches, at least two of whom were still on staff, were accused of bullying, demeaning and verbally abusing players. Although Ferentz said the behavior crossed a line from “demanding to demeaning,” he believed those staffers could change.