An internal investigation commissioned by the University of Iowa athletic department in 2018 outlined allegations that Black student-athletes at the school face discrimination within the department, leaving many to believe there is a double standard when it comes to the treatment they face compared to white student-athletes.
The report, compiled by the UI Athletics Diversity Task Force (DTF) and obtained by Hawkeye Nation via a Freedom of Information Act records request, outlines an investigation in which 15 current and former Black student-athletes and nine white student-athletes were interviewed, as were 15 athletic staff members (10 men and five women) and 12 members of coaching or operations staff (nine men, three women).
Hawkeye Nation made its copy of the DTF report public Monday.
Among the findings made in the student-athlete interviews:
–Black student-athletes “do not feel comfortable being their authentic selves” and instead have to “check their identity at the door.”
–One Black student-athlete said, “I feel like a slave to the system.”
–Nearly all Black student-athletes interviewed used the term “double standard” regarding the way they are treated in relation to their White peers.
–One White student-athlete said Black student-athletes are “tested more for drugs” and “White student-athletes stay off the radar.”
Other findings in the report found that:
–There is a “noticeable lack of diversity among non-coaching staff members, including senior administrators, mid-level managers and support staff.”
–There is a general lack of trust between Black student-athletes and their coaches.
–Among the coaches interviewed, there was a lacking of “knowledge of graduation rates for specific student-athlete groups, especially African-American male student-athletes.”
–Coaches had lower expectations of Black student-athletes relative to White student-athletes.
The impetus for the study was the fact that Iowa at the time ranked last in the Big Ten in graduation rates for Black male student-athletes at 42 percent. White male student-athletes at the school had an 81 percent graduation rate.
In recent months, the racial climate around Iowa athletics, particularly football, has come under fire.
Last month, the university agreed to a buyout worth a reported $1.1 million with longtime strength coach Chris Doyle. A member of head football coach Kirk Ferentz’s staff since 1999, Doyle was placed on administrative leave weeks prior after several former Hawkeyes players said he contributed to a dysfunctional culture for Black players.
Then three weeks ago, former Iowa running back Akrum Wadley alleged the football program had a culture of bullying and racism, calling out Doyle, Ferentz and Brian Ferentz (the Hawkeyes’ offensive coordinator and the head coach’s son) by name.
“My hope is my story and those of my teammates save others from the experiences, truths and mistake of playing under and for a coaching staff at Iowa that did and said nothing to stop the bullying and racism from happening to us under Chris Doyle, Brian Ferentz and Kirk Ferentz,” Wadley said in the statement. “What you see on TV isn’t what you get behind closed doors.”
Wadley also called playing football at Iowa “a living nightmare.”
Kirk Ferentz read the DTF report in 2019, and that, according to Monday’s story, led the 64-year-old to make changes in his program.
In a video released in June, Ferentz acknowledged there has been “a call for a cultural shift in our program,” and said he would create an advisory committee of current and former players, along with department staff, geared at creating “a better environment tomorrow.”
Among the recommendations made in the DTF report were increasing the diversity of the Iowa coaching, administration and support staffs; utilizing on-campus resources to enhance diversity within athletics; training; and cross-cultural mentoring programs.