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Iowa AD Gary Barta 'confident' in Kirk Ferentz continuing to lead Hawkeye football

Zack Creglow
Hawk Central

Iowa athletics director Gary Barta believes Kirk Ferentz still has the ability the lead the Hawkeye football program after more than 50 former players have raised concerns about racial bias and mistreatment this month. 

Barta pointed to the veteran football coach's on-field success, his community service and his track record of developing NFL talent, among other traits, as reasons why Ferentz can continue as the Hawkeye coach. 

“I do remain confident Kirk Ferentz can lead this team moving forward," Barta said Monday. 

Earlier on Monday, the university reached a separation agreement with Chris Doyle, who had been the nation's top-paid strength and conditioning coach. 

Doyle, 51, had been placed on administrative leave by the university June 6, when former Hawkeyes took to social media to point to him as the largest impediment to fostering a racially inclusive atmosphere within the football program.

Per the separation agreement with Doyle, his buyout will include two payments of $556,249.50 — one on Aug. 1, the other on Jan. 1, 2021 — for a total of $1,112,499.

More:Iowa announces separation agreement with former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle

Additionally, the university announced Monday that it has hired Kansas City law firm Husch Blackwell to conduct an independent review of issues and allegations relating to racial disparities within the football program. Barta had been set to lead that investigation. Barta said Monday that review is expected to take weeks to complete. 

A few players also said offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, Kirk's son, was guilty of similar behavior as Doyle. Brian Ferentz has not been placed on leave. Kirk Ferentz told reporters June 7 that was because the number of complaints against his son were not as prevalent as those lodged against Doyle.

Kirk Ferentz, 64, has formed an advisory panel of former players, led by Mike Daniels, to offer suggestions for improving the culture of the team. He also said he is determined to listen to all of the stories of his current and former players in an attempt to understand the scope of the problem and lead his program in a better direction.

Barta said Monday that additional actions could be taken following the Husch Blackwell review. 

"Clearly, there's still a lot of work to be done," Barta said.