Video & Transcript: Kirk Ferentz Press Conference

July 30, 2020

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

KIRK FERENTZ: Thank you, Gary. Appreciate the comments, and good afternoon to everybody. Appreciate all of you being here to join us. I’m glad to have the opportunity for all of us to be together and talk about the independent report and the findings. As you know, I’ve not made any public comments about specific issues, just out of respect for the process, and today I’ll be happy to address any questions you may have afterwards.

As a coach, I’ve always considered myself first and foremost a teacher. In the past few weeks I’ve been committed to being a student. I’ve spent a lot of time listening and learning from experiences of many of our former players and current players, and the experiences that they’ve shared.

As the review explains, many of our black players felt that they were not treated the same way as their white teammates. I was saddened and disappointed to learn those feelings. Before June 4, I would have said we had a healthy program. The stories I’ve heard in the days and weeks that have followed have changed that.

While we’ve always prided ourselves in running a program based on discipline and accountability, based on my former player conversations and this review, it’s shown that many of our black players felt like our program did more than that. I want to apologize to those players for any pain, any frustration that they felt at a time when I was trusted to help develop them as a better player, better person.

The majority of our players that we’ve heard from are players that were part of our program four years ago or longer. I’m thankful that they shared their experiences with me and spoke to many of them about some of the changes that we have made in the past year. While we have made some strides, we still have a long road ahead of us.

There were a few key takeaways. First of all, I am responsible as the head coach. I’ve prided myself on running an NFL-style collegiate program, if you will, which means position coaches have autonomy and freedom to develop the curriculum and the coaching style that they choose. The former players’ experiences show me the need to be more involved in every aspect of the program so coaches and staff are carrying out the responsibilities in a manner consistent with our expectations.

We’re focused on creating a more inclusive culture for everybody, players and coaches. Over the past weeks, I’ve learned our culture was not as strong as I thought. Many of our black players felt they had to conform to a white culture, and in some instances coaches had crossed the line from demanding to demeaning, and that’s never acceptable. We’ve already made several key changes to our program, most notably with the leadership in our strength and conditioning staff. As Gary hinted at, we’ve reorganized the department, spreading out the responsibilities across several staff members to diffuse issues of control and feelings of favoritism.

In other aspects of our program, we’ve instituted player suggestions, starting with just game day protocols, so when we do get the green light to play, we’ll be able to institute those. They’ve also included lifting restrictions on social media, dress code, our approach to body weights, increasing the amount of time that we meet, talk and listen to one another as a team.

Lastly, this review has reinforced my belief that the heart of coaching is relationships. We spend a tremendous amount of time and energy recruiting players to join our program, and we’re invested in every player that we bring into our program, and that commitment to them as individuals can and should grow even more once they’re on campus.

Everyone’s life experiences are different, as are their insecurities and struggles. I’m not different. We can all work harder connecting here, even more with each other to better understand each other’s perspectives. This has certainly been a moment of truth for me as a leader and for the program. The release of this independent review will not be the end of the conversation. Really it’s just the beginning of our next chapter in the program’s history.

Our players always talk about leaving the jersey in a better place, and that’s my commitment to do the same thing with this program.

Kirk, the diversity task force report that came out in 2019, this report seems kind of similar with what it’s charging and then you had your players come out publicly, former players come out publicly last month. Why was it necessary for those guys to come out publicly last month? Do you feel like these changes would have happened had they not come out?

KIRK FERENTZ: I think I said at the last press conference I feel like I dropped the ball after I met with the players last August, and we made changes there which I thought were important and significant. I think the players would agree. But where I’m going on that, I did say I dropped the ball. I never met with that group in December, and in retrospect, first of all, we should have met, but I’m not sure these things would have come about, quite frankly, and I really think the turning point took place at the end of May, started at the end of May and then certainly carried over to the meeting that Gary referred to. That was a very defining moment I think for our football team and our program on June 8. I’ve never been involved in a meeting where a player left emotionally. It was really raw, emotional discussion, very honest discussion, and to me that really just has kind of really opened up lines of communication.

You know, just the term “mask” even, that term, that was loud and clear in the task force report. That’s taken on a much different meaning, no question about that. Since that time, I’ll even allude to this, before that, 20 plus years ago, Marvin Sims talked to me about ‘driving while black.’ I just came out of the NFL six years on a submarine, and he explained to me what that term is, and it was explained to me in a much different way that last week of May. I believe it was the last day of May, there was some things on TV that day that I referenced also last press conference, three people being stopped for driving while black. You see things through a little different lens, I think. I imagine a lot of Americans are doing the same thing right now, just seeing things different in our country a little bit.

It appears that Chris Doyle is the only one that’s being punished for this, at least on the surface from what we can tell. Are we supposed to interpret that that he was the main — we just had to get rid of him and start moving forward because that’s the way it looks.

KIRK FERENTZ: My deep dive really began in earnest on June 5. There were a series of tweets, and that’s basically for an entire week. I want to say I was meeting with our team or doing something directly related to the team. I was on the phone with former players, and my questions were, what needs to be fixed, is it fixable, and then third question, if I’m part of the problem, we’ll get out of here.

That’s when it began, but some themes came across loud and clear, others were not as clear. But the bottom line is it was just some of the things in the report, but as much as anything, just really being aware of what our words are and what our actions are, and going from there.

I think at this point right now, as Gary alluded to, the moves that have been made have been made, we’re prepared to move forward, but that being said, I think we all have a lot of learning to do, and that’s number one on the list right now, good communication and also growth and learning. That’s paramount for our whole program right now.

Coach, the one paragraph that stopped me dead in my tracks when I read it, it was about a current player that you have, and he was saying that one of the coaches told him, freshmen players, that what you’re doing right now is you’re going to get on a boat and leave your past life behind you. That’s a little bit tone deaf to me because as an African-American, that boat might symbolize something different for me than it would for a lot of white players who look at the Mayflower opportunity coming here. Slave ships, 1619, they came here for centuries to this country. So you see the visualization? That’s a difficult passage for me. Is this coach still on staff? Is this true? It hurt me.

KIRK FERENTZ: That is not the word choice that should be in there. And again, we’re all learning. I just learned something about that, but I take that in a different way.

And really, our players aren’t leaving their past behind them. No player should leave his past behind him because we’re all a product of our past. There’s a lot better way to state that, no question about that. The message should be what we’re doing here is really important. I do talk to our players every year that what you’ve accomplished in high school, it’s great, that’s why you’re here, you’ve been selected, but what we’re interested in is what you can do moving forward, and that’s for every player on our team, whether a fifth-year senior or first-year guys. The focus really is what are you going to do on a day-to-day basis while you’re in this program academically, football-wise and also character-wise. I certainly don’t condone that. And appreciate your feelings on it.

I imagine this process has been full of self-reflection for you, for your entire career, not only at Iowa. Is there ever a point where you look back and you think of maybe something that enabled Chris Doyle to become the powerful force that a lot of your former players feel has been almost too divisive, too powerful? Was there ever a point where you look back and you think, I should have done this to do something different, to come to a different conclusion?

KIRK FERENTZ: I think that’s one of the things I’ve really wrestled with as much as anything. I referenced or used the term “blind spot” previously. How do you see things quicker? How do you hear things better? Those types of things. Gary alluded to part of it in retrospect. In my mind we had that position in charge of too many things, and I guess it’s twofold. It’s a matter of I’ll go back and look at it now, what we’ve done as a staff is, okay, what responsibilities can we move, what are some of the things that maybe were being monitored that don’t need to be monitored, really aren’t that important, and then the third part, the things that we are monitoring and the things that we are deeming to be important, are they reasonable, are they really reasonable, and then we went out and solicited feedback on that with our players.

It’s kind of a multilevel discussion, in some ways, and to have one person with as many responsibilities in retrospect was probably a mistake, and as we move forward, those will be diffused out a little bit, just so the players aren’t being corrected by the same person time and time and time again because that sounds like my marriage, quite frankly, right. My wife raises the kids and she’s the heavy and I come home and I’m okay with everybody. I think there are things that we can do moving forward that will be better.

Some of your players in the report have spoken about lists being kept of things used against them. Are those things being done anymore? Are those all done?

KIRK FERENTZ: Yes and no. So there are things that Scott kind of referenced, some of the things that we looked at, sleep monitors, for instance. We’re trying to advocate players getting good sleep. It’s good for every human. But we came to the conclusion on that that it’s probably better right now where we’re at right now, that’ll be an optional thing for all of our upperclassmen. It will be mandatory for our first-year players in the vein that we’re trying to educate you from coming here with poor sleep habits. We’re making that assumption. Most incoming players have that. So how can we better make you aware of what you’re doing, when you’re going to bed, how many hours of sleep you’re getting, those type of things, but the strength staff will handle that one-on-one with the players. It’ll be extremely confidential. I’ll be the only football coach that has access to that information, and my conversations will be the same way: Hey, we’re just trying to educate you on what you can do better.

There are certain things that will not be a listing or an incentive or a disincentive in the Hawkeye championship program, and I think we went over this with our players. Hopefully if we keep a list on those things, the players all agree, hey, this is reasonable and it’s fair, and then the other part is there are certain things that really aren’t negotiable like class attendance, punctuality for a medical appointment, whatever it may be. If somebody is going to give you their time to tutor you or treat you medically, I think it’s just a good life habit to be on time and be there prepared to go. Certain things are not changing. Those won’t go away. But other things obviously we’ve talked about, and to a great extent.

The current players that you have, they have all agreed that things have improved. What have you noticed taking place? What differences have you noticed in terms of this group?

KIRK FERENTZ: It’s been a challenge because we’ve been socially distanced from our players. We’ve done a lot of Zoom things and that type of deal, so that’s been a challenge. But every meeting I’ve had, I’ve met with the advisory group now I think or leadership group, excuse me, five times. We’ve had great conversation, great dialogue. I think things are moving in a very positive way, but Gary ended with a quote there that really to me is maybe the most significant or second most significant component of this whole thing is what we do moving forward.

I’ve requested that of our leadership group as well as the advisory committee, to hold my feet to the fire. Let’s make sure we’re staying on track. Let’s make sure we are not having five meetings and then dismissing it, that type of thing. I think we’ve all learned a great deal in the last two months, but it can’t be yesterday’s news. We need to keep the dialogue going, and I’ll predict this, if we’re doing our jobs right and doing them better, we’re not going to have the kind of meeting we had on June 8. But that was a significant meeting, it was powerful and very impactful, and it got the ball moving forward fast, which was great.

How was this report not seen by Chris Doyle and his reaction?

KIRK FERENTZ: As I said, that was a judgment basically I made and Gary was very supportive, and the question I make, and this is true of any coach on our staff, the question is can they do their job effectively, and the weekend of the 6th, 7th, I couldn’t envision Chris being able to go in the room that Monday and being effective with our players, and then that judgment as I looked down the road further and just based on where we’re at as a program in this period right now, I didn’t think it was in anybody’s best interest. Chris is an outstanding coach. I know with his next opportunity he’s going to do a fantastic job, but everything is based on where you’re at as a program.

But that’s not the end of the discussion. There are a lot of things that we’ve talked about, that we’ve discussed, unearthed, learned, and it’s top to bottom, we just have to do a better job, and it all starts with good candid communication, and most importantly it’s taking appropriate action and then being fair and equitable with how we move forward with it.

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Despite the accusations against Brian and Seth Wallace, I know there weren’t as many, but can we assume you’re confident they can move forward and keep doing it based on what was said?

KIRK FERENTZ: As Gary’s comments reflected, our plan right now is to move forward. That being said, though, this is an opportunity for our entire staff to learn. To me one of the great things about life and coaching, you learn every day. There’s always things, and a lot of times things you don’t anticipate, but that’s our job right now moving forward. It has begun. It’s begun in earnest and it will continue.

And then there will be cases where yeah, some special attention will be given, whether it’s mentoring, counseling, whatever, whatever steps we deem to be appropriate, to make sure that everybody is doing what they need to do to help our whole program move forward.

Your own definition of the “Iowa way” changed through this, and what do you want people outside this program, this building to think of when they hear that term?

KIRK FERENTZ: Gary’s review asked me basically the same thing, my definition of the Iowa way, and the goals haven’t changed. It’s graduation, it’s having a good experience or maximizing your abilities and your experience in football, and those are both hard to do, and also being a good citizen, good character person, moral person outside the team activities.

Those things haven’t changed. I said the program is built on the foundation of discipline and accountability, and anytime you’re involved in anything that’s demanding, I don’t care if it’s a playwright, a novelist, whatever, you need those things to move forward, and mental toughness is certainly a big part of that.

But all that being said, it’s all about the delivery. It’s all about the message. I think that’s probably been the biggest learning experience here. Again, if we’re asking our players to do something in the Iowa way, then it’s got to be fair, equitable and reasonable. I would liken it to this or I’ll give you this comparison: 21 years ago we were a team that was 1-10 that needed a lot of accountability and discipline, and we operated in that mode. Things were very stringent, very regimented, if you will, internally. Again, when our players leave the building, whatever they do is what they do, as long as they’re doing things right. But we were in a different place, and four years later we had a really outstanding football team, but that was a gradual progression. I said that to one of the members on the advisory committee the other night. He referenced that, and I said, that’s when the building began. That’s where it started and never ends.

But we’re in a different place right now, and I think I’ve said this the last press conference, we’ve got a bunch of guys on our team right now that know what it takes to win. They want to win, so we’re in a little different place. And my conversation with Mike Daniels, not to name too many players, but his message really kind of resonated with me. He had a good way of putting it. The point was that if we’re a little bit more reasonable and a little bit more open-minded on some things, we’ll derive really even better benefits, and I think we’re seeing that right now with our players.

The point is things change year to year. Every team is a little bit different, and if we do get to play this year, I think we have a bunch of guys that are committed to winning. That being said, every player, every person needs guidance and needs direction. That will never change, and that’s our job.

We have to be smart about how we do things and what we choose to deem important and how we reinforce those things and teach those things.

A passage in the report mentions how you previously believed it’s better to keep politics and football separate in a team environment. You told investigators your views have changed recently, and I was wondering, will players in your opinion feel confident to express free speech and independent thought in any way they see fit, whether it’s politically or otherwise? And what gives you that confidence?

KIRK FERENTZ: Yeah, I’ll go back whenever it was, three years ago. But in a perfect world for me personally, when people go into Kinnick, it’s to go watch a football game, fans, players, players compete, enjoy the competition. But it’s in a team frame, and quite frankly there are a lot of things to me, that’s the beauty of sports is to run away from some of those things that are out there.

But I did not support the use of Twitter then, either. So we’ve changed our opinion about social media, and I still have concerns about it, but our focus will be on education that way.

I think much of my views have changed a lot about the National Anthem and just how we execute it and we’re still in discussion on that, but I told our players yesterday, at least the leadership group, that I still feel the same way, in a perfect world, to me sports should be just about sports, but I think we’re in a different time and a different place right now as a society, and I appreciate the dialogue we’ve had.

We’ve had two separate meetings. This last meeting was not dedicated totally to that topic, but I really respect and appreciate the way our players are talking and the way they feel, and more importantly as I said last press conference, it’s clear there are people on both sides of the discussion, but it’s clear there’s a real respect for each other.

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I think I said this a couple weeks ago: It’s lacking nationally from my vantage point, but I see it with our team, and that is more important to me right now. Yeah, that’s more important.

A lot of players have said that they come to Iowa and they’re ready to go, they’re excited, and yet there’s a kind of a message set on the first day, a lot of times it’s derogatory, said in a derogatory fashion. Has that been discussed not only with the change in leadership with the strength and conditioning program but across the board for young men who are put in a defensive position right away and not integrated into the program right away?

KIRK FERENTZ: I think it’s really important that we reshape our perspective on players entering the program. There is an Iowa way, quote-unquote, “Iowa way,” what we expect, being on time and ready to go and doing quality work.

But really, the first year to me has got to be — we’ve got to better emphasize the transition part of that first year because the reality is only a handful of players are going to be on the game field most likely for significant time during the course of the year. But the majority of the guys are in the first year really of their development, not that every player is not developing, but I think we definitely have to reshape that and do a better job, and it is a challenge because in past in a normal year, quote-unquote, “normal year,” Junes have become everything but — like it’s been camps, it’s been these satellite camps, all those kinds of things, so it’s really pulled us away from our players, and then on top of that, July is a big vacation month for football coaches typically, so there’s a little bit of a rub and a challenge there, too, but I’ve got some ideas on how we can bridge that.

Bottom line kind of goes back to the idea of just making sure we get more time with those players, especially the incoming players and we’re getting them off on the right step, realizing that very few are going to be out there at a critical time, and the week during the season, let’s just focus on getting the basics down, and most importantly just learning the basics and coming back the next day with a good attitude. That’s probably the most important ingredient right there.

And later in the report, several players expressed skepticism about these changes. I think the quote said, It starts with the head coach and down the line, expressing a culture beyond Doyle that was corrosive in some ways. That’s a lot on your shoulders. Are you willing to kind of carry this forward every day —

KIRK FERENTZ: To me that’s a synopsis of the whole review in my mind. Gary mentioned, as I alluded to, the last quote he gave is really the most important step moving forward. I think we’ve had two great months, really significant months in this program’s history. That’s all for naught if we don’t have follow-through.

And again, I’ve encouraged our players, call me out, and same thing with the advisory committee, and those guys are pretty good at calling me out anyway, so it’s been not entertaining, painful at times, but I have faith that they’ll continue to probe and continue to ask questions.

As we walk away today, that is the most important aspect of this whole thing in my opinion.

When you think about going into an African-American athlete’s home for a recruiting visit, have you thought about how those visits might be different going forward?

KIRK FERENTZ: I haven’t given it a lot of thought. I’ll tell you this, I’m not quite 65 yet, but I’ve never really had any difficulty going to anybody’s home in good situations or bad situations because it gets down to telling the truth, it really does, being transparent, talking honestly and directly. I really haven’t had that be a challenge and I don’t anticipate that.

It’s like being here today. There are questions I’ll have to answer I’m sure with some, but that’s part of what we do, and what we do is all out there right now, so it’s my job to take responsibility for whatever may have happened and make sure that we are taking the necessary stops to show growth, to show improvement and then continue those steps moving forward.

Chris Doyle has really been made out to be a villain here, a bad guy. You just referenced before that you think he’ll do great in his next job. When you hear these stories, how much validity do you give to them and what’s your view of those, and did you not notice any of those things if you did feel like those things were happening?

KIRK FERENTZ: I’ll just say this in general terms: I’m a head coach. I hear complaints about a lot of things. Yesterday I heard complaints about our food, which one player commented on the scrambled eggs, which I’ve had those scrambled eggs. Are you kidding me?

Anyway, the point there is that I’ve got a better filter, I guess, or better see or hear some things, but it’s not about one person. This discussion is not about one person, it’s about us as a program. What are the things that we need to do to avoid having a report like this come out? What are the things that we better need to do?

One of the people on the committee said it best probably a month plus ago, month and a half ago, he made the comment that Kirk’s team will tell him what the problems are, and I think that’s what started on June 8, and I think that’s what has transpired, and the most important thing is as we move forward how do I better ask questions and better get to the truth. Using former players has been a great vehicle, no question about that, but what about our current players.

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Because right now they’re talking very freely, but is that going to be the same way a year from now. As we move forward, how do we keep that process going where players can feel free to talk very candidly about things.

You mentioned some players throwing out that you might need to get out of here. Did you seriously consider that at any point, and what was maybe the toughest conversation you’ve had that really kind of — that just kind of hit home?

KIRK FERENTZ: Well, I can tell you the toughest one, Gary and I were just talking about it yesterday, it was Saturday, June 6. That’s easy. The way I’d frame it is my encouragement to all of the guys I talked with was let’s just take the gloves off and say what you’ve got to say. And I’ll also say this: A lot of those players to my knowledge, I’m the last guy to know this, but to my knowledge, they’d go on social media, they weren’t talking publicly but they were — players were heavily invested in this program. I got very candid feedback.

Just in a nutshell, my responsibility is to be committed to the program. Not me, the program. So whatever we have to do to move the program forward, that’s what we need to be doing right now.

Anyway, but the point there again is that I got very candid feedback from just about every player I visited with. Some real specific, some more general, but over the course of a lot of phone calls, a lot of discussions, and then matching that up with current players, what they were saying, players from the last couple years, more younger vintage, there are things that you just start to see and it shapes some opinions.

I know he’s not here to speak for himself, but what do you think Brian has learned from this thing? Do you think this has been an eye opener for him and do you think it needed to be?

KIRK FERENTZ: I think if there’s anybody in our program right now that’s not changed from two months ago then they’re just not paying attention, like they’re not paying attention. I’ll say this: During these two months it’s been really challenging for everybody involved. I would say this: I think we have a really good staff, and we’ve got a good coaching staff, support staff. I’m appreciative of the support we’ve gotten institutionally, and I have every confidence we’re going to move forward and do fine. But I’d like to think everybody has been affected. I would like to think that. If anybody feels they didn’t have any role, even if it was one player not feeling good about their experience, then that’s one too many. We’ve got to try to do a better job.

And I’ll say this: We all realize not everybody is going to leave happy. We all realize that. But everybody needs to leave knowing that they were treated fairly and given equal opportunity. That’s fair. And the expectations were reasonable, not something other than that.

One of the former players you reached out to was Akrum Wadley. What was your reaction when he said he regrets playing here?

KIRK FERENTZ: Surprise. I won’t comment on any individuals. I commented on a couple who I spoke with and did not identify who I spoke with on June 6. But it was surprise and also to some degree — surprise because some of the things were just flat-out not true. Not true. I mean, we have never held back a black card from any player. I’m not a great record keeper. Ben Hensen is meticulous. Never happened. It was stated, I think, that I said derogatory things in a press conference about an individual. Those are a matter of record, and some of you may have looked those up. I’ll stand behind what I said in those press conferences. As recently as May 26, his mom and I were having good conversations. I had no sense it was that bad, quite frankly.

I’ll address that, too. And during the course of — we got back from California, conversations with his mom about trying to get him placed in the XFL, work that probably his agent should have been doing, but trying to help and I knew some people in the XFL. I think he went to Atlanta as a result of that conversation, so yeah, I was surprised.

You have several young black assistant coaches who a lot of players relate to well on the recruiting trail, have said a lot of good things, a lot of good people. Will they have more of a voice now within your program that maybe before because they were younger and there was a certain structure that maybe their voices were muted or maybe not as loud as others?

KIRK FERENTZ: I don’t know if they’ll be more, but I think everybody has been — I’ve talked about the players, right, since June 8. Players have been really free with their talks and thoughts and opinions. I would say I’ve seen the same thing in our staff meetings. It wasn’t just players, it was the whole staff.

And especially that early part of that week, that’s where — that was the most impactful part of this whole thing because we had two team meetings and we broke up with the coaches into smaller groups, and then we went through the process of taking all the feedback, putting it on the board, putting it in categories, and then I’ve worked through those categories with our players, the leadership group pretty much systematically now for five meetings.

Those are more like day-to-day changes and I think everybody is enthused about those. But it’s been a group effort, group process, and I’ve seen the same conversations in our staff meetings, very, very straightforward and very candid opinions.

I’m hopeful that’s what everybody will do as we move forward because that’s how we have to keep pushing this thing.

Early in this report it says current and former players were overwhelmingly positive in their evaluation of the coaching staff with three exceptions, and then it says those three exceptions verbally abused and bullied players. There’s a pretty big gap between overwhelmingly positive for most staff members and then verbally abused and bullied. I’m curious why we know about consequences for theoretically one of those people but not two more. There’s such a gap between those reviews.

KIRK FERENTZ: Sure, and I stole a player’s words, a former player and staff member actually shared words with me, the demanding versus demeaning. I think that’s where the line is, and all coaches have to be careful of that. Probably most of us, teachers, coaches, anybody that works with other people. You have to think twice, act once.

So that is unacceptable. Is there a pattern of it? That’s a question you have to ask. Is it correctable? That’s the question you have to ask. Those are judgments that I’ve had to make and then I’ve got to answer to people, too, about those things.

As I said earlier, I’m confident we’re going to move forward. I’m confident there will be less of that kind of feedback from any of our players, and I’m also not naïve enough to think somebody might not say something wrong, but I’ve said this before, too, if you do that as a coach or a teacher then you need to circle back and make sure before that player leaves the field or leaves the building that — I’m sorry about what I said out there, here’s what I meant, all right.

Basically in my mind, the construction, the corrections and teachings should be directed at actions and behaviors, not — it should never be personal. That’s a key component teaching or coaching.

Has your confidence in the ability that theoretically these actions can be corrected or improved from these other I’m assuming two people that are still on the staff, does that confidence come from the players that you’ve talked to saying, look, I had these frustrations with this person but I believe we can work things out?

KIRK FERENTZ: It comes from players, but it also comes from my exposure to things and how much I’m able to see and not able to see. I can’t sit in every meeting room, obviously. That’s impossible. So there’s a lot of — that’s where the feedback really comes in from different people. But yeah, I’m confident that we can move forward. Otherwise we would have done something differently.

Obviously recruiting is in a weird spot right now, not being able to go out and have visits. What has the feedback been from the recruiting trail because some of these things I think had probably come up before and you guys have had to confront — how have you dealt with that and how have you seen an impact?

KIRK FERENTZ: Just like our players on campus, we’ve been very transparent and very direct with our recruits, too, and so they’re not reading about this as yesterday’s news. They’re hearing it from us, and I would say they’ve been fantastic. We’ve been well-received, and we’ve talked about the things that we consider to be issues that have been addressed and things we’re going to do moving forward. They’ve been absolutely fantastic. But it’s a long road until December or whenever signing ends up being, but the players have been great.

You mentioned earlier about being receptive to players calling you out on things and that type of thing. We obviously saw what the task force report in ’19 that players brought those concerns to you through various channels. When that happens in the future now, why will your reaction and your receptiveness to all this be different than before?

KIRK FERENTZ: That’s something I’ve got to safeguard against, but again, just pertaining to the task force, to me it’s all about the lens, the lens I saw it through. I thought we addressed what we needed to address, the hats, earrings, and those were important and still were important to our players, and I get that better now, and I kind of got it in August, but I think the key point is just the lens that you’re looking at things through; particularly the last two months since the end of May versus prior to that point, a lot of viewpoints have changed. But I’ll tie that in also with evaluation of people. You’ve got to ask better probing questions to get more honest feedback so people can feel comfortable telling you about what needs to be addressed, and again, we’re getting that right now, but we need to continue on that path as we move forward.


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