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Kirk Ferentz: I did not dissolve advisory committee

The Iowa coach cleared the air after many assumed he chucked aside his accountability panel shortly after inking a lucrative contract extension.

Since Iowa ended its season with a Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky on New Year's Day, two things of note have happened. The program announced a 4-year contract extension for Kirk Ferentz that will take him past his 30th year on the job, and it was reported that Ferentz dissolved the advisory group that he'd worked with for the past year and a half.

As you'll recall, in the summer of 2020 stories emerged about the program's troubling culture under Ferentz's administration, particularly in regards to the (lack of) personal freedoms Black players enjoyed, as well as the way players were treated in the weight room by strength coach Chris Doyle. Again, it was primarily Black players sharing stories of bullying and harassment. Doyle lost his job, and there were calls for Ferentz to do the same, and so the advisory panel was formed.

And when it was reported that Ferentz dissolved the panel, shortly after he received an extension that guaranteed him another $24 million, innuendo rushed to fill the void created by lack of context. "I got my money, now I don't need to put up with this panel anymore."

On Monday, the eve of Iowa's first team activities of the 2022 season, Ferentz sent a letter to his players' parents that explains his side of the story. The panel wasn't disbanded, Ferentz said, it was just reset.

"It has been reported that this group has been disbanded or dissolved. That is not accurate," Ferentz writes. "Several members indicated their interest in stepping away from the committee in December, as they felt their work had made a real impact and the time was right to transition to a new group of voices. Therefore, I made the decision to release the members from their commitment following the bowl game and shared that with them via email. The group is ongoing, and I am in the process of inviting new members to join the group."

That's not to say everything is perfect within the walls of Iowa football. In fact, Brian Ferentz remains a defendant in a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by seven former Hawkeyes, with trial set for next year.

Furthermore, the group's chairman, former offensive lineman David Porter, recommended the program bring in a new AD and head coach.  “After gathering facts for about a year and a half and objectively looking at everything, I have come to this conclusion: The biggest opportunity for our football program to get better is to bring in a new head football coach, football staff and athletic director," Porter wrote to former players and "several other people", per The Athletic, on Jan. 2. 

That comment became public after it was reported Ferentz "dissolved" the committee, fueling the innuendo. 

Another member of the committee publicly disagreed with the chairman's conclusion.

Like with any committee, ask 10 people for their opinion and you're likely to get 10 different answers. 

But rather than the dissolve the committee, Ferentz will now seek out 10 different opinions moving forward.