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Report shows Kirk Ferentz was aware racial problems at Iowa before previously known

A lengthy report from Hawkeye Nationon Monday exposed that Kirk Ferentz and Iowa knew of racial problems within the football program well before they publicly came to light last month.

An early 2019 report from Iowa's Diversity Task Force, based on interviews with 50 athletes and employees, outlined a racial double-standard for Hawkeye athletes, describing many of the same issues that would eventually bubble over into public view more than a year later. From the DTF's report:

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In short, Black players reported being held to a different standard than their white teammates, and that "white" culture was viewed as the default within the program. A review of athletics department numbers found Black athletes transferred more often and graduated less frequently than their white counterparts -- and at rates of disparity higher than the national average.

From Hawkeye Nation:

“Double-standard” was used by nearly all of the black student-athletes interviewed in describing the difference between how black student-athletes are treated in relation to their white peers. Nearly all black student-athletes reported that one of the predominant reasons that blacks leave is because of the way coaches and some support staff speak to them while their white peers are not subjected to the same negative interactions.

In the report, many examples were shared of black student-athletes being cursed at, ridiculed, and embarrassed in front of their peers. Some student-athletes interviewed felt their white peers were not spoken to in such a disrespectful way.

White student-athletes believe some students are treated differently but attribute it to “geographical” rather than racial differences. As an example, students not from this region may have a difficult time understanding “hard work” and “doing things right all the time, both academically and socially.”

One white student-athlete mentioned in the report that black athletes are “tested more for drugs” than their white peers, and “white student-athletes stay off the radar.”

Ferentz acknowledged reading the 2019 report, stating that he loosened the program's dress code ahead of the last season. “We allowed (student-athletes) to wear hats, earrings, [and hoodies] but what I learned here is there’s a lot more to it,” Ferentz said last month. “We’ve got to dig deeper, listen better, and act on things that count.”

But the fallout of the June reckoning fell onto Chris Doyle, the longest-tenured and highest-paid strength coach in the country. He was paid $1 million severance to leave, while Ferentz continues as Iowa's head coach today.

Ferentz admitted last month to a blind spot toward racial disparities within his program. Now we know he's been made aware of that blind spot longer than we previously thought.

“I had convinced myself that we were doing enough,” Iowa AD Gary Barta said during a June 15 press conference. “Frankly, the past few weeks have been a wakeup call for me, I know [for] Kirk. But everybody in Iowa Football and Iowa athletics [was woken up].”

Read the full report here.