University of Iowa Football Players Want Firings, $20M Amid Racial Bias Allegations

October 20, 2020

A group of Black former football players at the University of Iowa asked for $20 million and for several high-ranking athletics officials to be fired, alleging racial discrimination.

The group, made up of eight former players, sent a 21-page letter dated Oct. 5 to the university, according to The Des Moines Register. In it, they sought the firing of athletics director Gary Barta, head football coach Kirk Ferentz and assistant coach Brian Ferentz.

They also sought $20 million. Half was sought as compensation for “the loss of earning capacity, the loss of professional opportunities, defamation, pain and suffering, mental conditions, mental anguish, PTSD, humiliation and overall emotional distress.” The other half was to be for other former players.

Without a satisfactory response by Monday, group members indicated they were ready for a lawsuit. They are being represented by Damario Solomon-Simmons, a Tulsa, Okla.-based civil rights attorney.

The group also asked the university to waive tuition for any Black athlete who didn’t graduate with a degree during Ferentz’s 22 years as football coach. And it asked for a permanent athletics position for a Black male senior administrator, mandatory antiracist training for athletics staff members and a board of advisers overseeing the football program.

The University of Iowa’s general counsel issued a formal reply Sunday saying the football program had already moved to meet some of the requests but that it was respectfully declining “your monetary and personnel demands,” according to the Register.

A strength and conditioning coach, Chris Doyle, is no longer with the program after allegations of racial bias broke through in June.

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