Kirk Ferentz sent a detailed letter to parents of Iowa football players Monday saying that reports that he disbanded his personal advisory group contained inaccuracies and that the committee would continue with different members in the future.
The letter, obtained Monday night by the Des Moines Register, was two pages long and served as 24-year-old football coach Hawkeye’s attempt to respond to the report that first appeared Sunday morning. from the Cedar Rapids Gazette who reported Ferentz’s Jan. 11 email to the committee that it was being disbanded “in its present form.”
Ferentz explained in the letter to the players’ parents that the advisory group was originally formed to help him understand race-based issues and how he could improve after the June 2020 cry from dozens of black former players who pointed out racial disparities in the program.
“I started this group to help me,” he said.
He went on to say that while it was true that previous members would not continue with the group, it was not disbanded.
“Several members indicated their interest in stepping back from the committee in December, as they felt their work had had a real impact and the time was right to move on to a new group of voices,” Ferentz wrote. “Therefore, I made the decision to release the members from their commitment after the bowling game (Citrus) and shared this with them via email. The group is ongoing and I am in the process of inviting new new members to join the group.
Ferentz congratulated the outgoing members for their 18 months of service and that “their insights helped me identify where we could do better”, and he went on to highlight many of the changes that have been widely observed and reported, such as relaxed dress codes. , the permission to kneel during the national anthem and the lifting of the tweeting ban imposed on the team.
“The time and energy the advisory group voluntarily offered was significant,” Ferentz wrote. “After a year and a half of fervent discussions, I felt it was the right time to allow these members who gave so much to walk away with my gratitude.”
Concluding his thoughts on the matter, Ferentz said the new advisory group – whatever form it takes in the future – would be made up of players who recently finished their Hawkeye careers.
“While the perspective of history was important at the start of the advisory group, I think the opinions of players who have competed as Hawkeyes more recently are important for what comes next,” Ferentz wrote. “The new edition of the group which will be made up of players who ended their careers not too long ago, joined by selected outside voices. This adds to the conversations I continue to have with the management group, which is made up of current members of our team, and my door is always open to any team member to discuss all aspects of our program.
Ferentz, 66, recently signed a contract extension through the 2029 season which brings his salary to $7 million per season plus bonuses.
That’s something former advisory group chair David Porter said. by the way in a Sunday interview with the registry.
“If you have an advisory committee formed as a result of a racist scandal, we have been doing this for a year and a half, which is unilaterally dissolved following a seven-year contract extension, the optics only give it doesn’t look good,” Porter said.
Ferentz also addressed his contractual situation in the letter.
“While the contract was signed on December 31,” he wrote, “I had already told your son during the season that I am committed to being the head coach here for many more years. .”
Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistikow covered the sport for 27 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.