B1G Media Day Notebook: Oliver Martin Appeal in Works, Alcohol at Kinnick

July 19, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

CHICAGO – The waiting if the hardest part. And that’s where we are with the Oliver Martin appeal for immediate eligibility.

The Iowa transfer receiver from Michigan and Iowa City West High product and his family have hired an attorney for the process, Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz said here Friday at the Big Ten Media Day. The school’s compliance department has put a case together.

“I have no idea right now what the timetable would be or anything like that,” Ferentz said.

Wolverine coach Jim Harbaugh was asked if he would advocate for Martin not having to sit out a season. He said he had no say in the matter.

“I was surprised that Oliver transferred. He really had a heck of a spring and was at the top of our depth chart coming out of spring ball and was doing very well in school. On his way to the Ross Business School. So that was a surprise,” Harbaugh said.

Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said everything for the appeal has been submitted to the NCAA, and it’s in the hands of the governing body to make the ultimate decision.

“I’m hardly an authority. We’ll just kind of wait it out and see where it goes. He’s been training with the team all summer long, doing a great job, seems to have fit right in with everybody,” Ferentz said.

Martin spent two seasons in Ann Arbor, playing in all 13 games last fall and recording 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. He red shirted during his first season.

His inclusion would benefit an ascending receiver corps, but Ferentz said it would be a bonus not a necessity.

“We certainly weren’t counting on him so I think it would be silly to say that we need him. But we obviously think he’s a really good football player and a good young person. If he can help our football team, I’m all for anybody helping us. But we’re not counting on it,” the coach said.

HOOCH FOR HAWKEYE FANS: Barta was asked if Iowa was any closer to selling beer and wine to the general public in Kinnick Stadium. They’re already served in the luxury suites.

It sounded like the day is not far off.

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“I anticipate at some point we’ll get there. The goal won’t be financial, although that could be a side benefit. It will be (for) fan experience,” Barta said.

He said last year that Iowa wouldn’t be the first school to open up alcohol sales and wouldn’t be the last. With the NCAA approving it at championship events and more institutions bringing it to their game-day facilities, the path has been cleared in Iowa City to walk down it without much, if any, blowback.

BACKFIELD BUSINESS: Iowa running backs coach Derrick Foster recently Tweeted a photo of him hosting the players at his position in his home. Ivory Kelly-Martin and Henry Geil were not pictured, leaving fans and media to speculate about their absence.

Kelly-Martin, a junior, also wasn’t not listed on the newest depth chart released on Thursday. He entered last season as the starter before injuries derailed his campaign. He was passed by Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young on the two-deep.

“Ivory is doing fine. He’s fully healthy, a little but guarded in the spring. But I talked to him the other day and he said he feels great. He’s good to go. So our top three guys are pretty well established,” Ferentz said.

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Geil saw limited action as a true freshman last season and ultimately red shirted.

“Henry is not in the summer program but he’ll be back with us when we start up in August and have a chance to get it going again. Hopefully, he’ll be healthy and ready to roll,” the coach said.

“Our top three guys we feel good about. (True freshmen Shadrick) Byrd did a nice job in spring for a young guy, and we’re anxious to see what (Tyler) Goodson can do, too.”

Goodson is a true freshman who arrived in June.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: There’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to scheduling. Iowa plays nine conference games and Iowa State annually. That leaves two non-conference contests with a financial need to play seven home games.

That said, Barta is exploring opportunities to make the two open games more appealing for fans. He’s expressing concern about declining attendance. MAC and Mountain West opponents don’t help that.

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“I am looking at some unique opportunities out a ways that might even be even bigger than that to our fans. We’ve played games here in Chicago (against Northern Illinois) at Soldier Field,” Barta said.

“I haven’t yet found one that fits but I wouldn’t be against a neutral game if I found the right fit.”

BACKUP QUARTERBACK: Barring injury, it looks like senior Nate Stanley will line up as the starting quarterback for a third consecutive season. The process for finding his backup and successor is underway.

Ferentz said he was pleased with the growth of redshirt sophomore Payton Mansell, redshirt freshman Spencer Petras and true freshman Alex Padilla, who enrolled in January, this spring. Mansell was listed as the No. 2 on the preseason depth chart, but the coach indicated the competition is wide open.

“We’re anxious to see them compete in August and just see what they can do. We’ll let it play itself out, but I don’t want to make any predictions right now. I think anything could happen, that’s for sure,” Ferentz said.

Mansell played some receiver in the spring. The coach said it was out of necessity because of a lack of depth there due to injuries.

“That’s not in our long-term plans, at least at this point,” Ferentz said.

EXTRA POINTS: In addition to Martin, the Hawkeyes added a pair of other transfer receivers this offseason. Ferentz said that Jack Combs (Central Michigan) and Charlie Jones (Buffalo) would be red shirting this fall…Linebacker Barrington Wade has been dealing with a foot injury but should be ready for the start of the camp. Ferentz said there were no other injury concerns…Asked what he would change about college football if he could, Ferentz said he would slow down the pace of recruiting.

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