Iowa football: Kirk Ferentz places Chris Doyle on administrative leave, lifts Twitter ban
Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately, after dozens of social-media posts from black former athletes describe a culture of systemic racism within the Iowa football program.
Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz made the revelation Saturday night, while also mentioning the creation of an advisory committee to address “a call for a cultural shift.” Doyle has been Iowa's strength and conditioning coach since Ferentz's first year of 1999.
Here is the full Ferentz statement:
"This is a defining moment for the Iowa Hawkeye football program.
Over the past 24 hours I have seen some difficult and heartbreaking posts on social media. I appreciate the former players' candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program. I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days. This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first.
"Many of the discussions have centered around our strength and conditioning program and coach Chris Doyle. I have spoken with him about the allegations posted on social media. They're troubling and have created a lasting impact on those players. Therefore, coach Doyle has been placed on administrative leave immediately while an independent review can take place. He and I agree that all parties will have their voices heard and then a decision about how we move forward will be made.
"There has been a call for a cultural shift in our program. Therefore, I am creating an advisory committee, chaired by a former player and compromised of current and former players as well as department staff. This will be a diverse group that will be able to share without judgement so we can all examine where we are today and how we can have a better environment tomorrow.
"Football is a game of discipline and sacrifice. In our program, we have high standards and accountability. And we have a good team of players, coaches and staff members. But it is clear we can do more to create a better environment, a respectful environment where every player can grow, develop and become the best version of himself.
"As I told the team earlier this week. I am a white football coach. Teaching is what I do. But it is also important to know when to be the student.
"Several days ago, the players asked permission to post on social media so they could participate in the national discussion around injustice, racism and inequality. As a team we agreed last Thursday to lift the longstanding ban on social media and so you will be seeing them enter the now broader conversation.
"These are painful times. As a leader you can learn a lot by listening but at some point you must take action. Finally, I told the team that change begins with us, but in reality it begins with me."
Doyle, college football's highest-paid strength-and-conditioning coach, was scheduled to begin overseeing voluntary player workouts Monday, when the Hansen Football Performance Center is opened to veteran players for the first time since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta announced that Raimond Braithwaite, who is black and has been on staff the last 15 years, would lead Iowa's strength and conditioning program during this period.
"Ultimately, our success will be defined by our actions," Barta said in a statement. "Our greatest victory won’t be found on a box score but a willingness to speak out against racism, and to make sure every student-athlete, coach and staff member feel safe, supported and that they have a voice that is empowered."