IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave after several black former players posted on social media about what they described as systemic racism in the program.
Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz made the announcement Saturday night, calling it "a defining moment" for the program in a video posted on the team's Twitter account.
"Over the past 24 hours, I have seen some difficult and heartbreaking posts on social media," Ferentz said. "I appreciate the former players' candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program. I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days.
"This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first."
Dozens of former players took to social media in recent days to detail the troubling incidents they say they saw and experienced while playing at Iowa.
"There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program," Chicago Bears guard James Daniels wrote Friday night on Twitter. "Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long."
Former defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie tweeted that one of the main reasons he committed to Iowa was because of Ferentz, saying, "He cares, and he gets it." Ekakitie then added: "However, for this program in particular, real change begins with coach—Doyle and his Strength & Conditioning staff."
Doyle, 51, has been Iowa's strength and conditioning coach since 1999, when Ferentz took over the program.
"Many of the discussions have centered around our strength and conditioning program and coach Chris Doyle," Ferentz said. "I have spoken with him about the allegations posted on social media. They're troubling and have created a lasting impact on those players. Therefore, Coach Doyle has been placed on administrative leave immediately while an independent review can take place. He and I agree that all parties will have their voices heard, and then a decision about how we move forward will be made."
Ferentz said he is creating an advisory committee to address "a call for a cultural shift" and that it will be led by a former player and include current and former players, along with members of the athletic department staff.
He also announced that the program's longstanding policy of banning players from posting on social media has been lifted so the players "could participate in the national discussion around injustice, racism and inequality" after the team agreed to do so.
"These are painful times," Ferentz said. "As a leader, you can learn a lot by listening, but at some point you must take action. Finally, I told the team that change begins with us, but in reality it begins with me."
Utes suspend assistant
SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has suspended Morgan Scalley, the football team's defensive coordinator, for using a racial slur in a 2013 text message.
Utes athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement that he was made aware of a social media post that referenced the text message.
Utah will have an outside firm review the matter for more details and to determine whether it was an isolated incident. Morgan will be suspended until the review is completed.
"The use of any form of racist language is not only antithetical to our policies and our values, but it is an affront to all of us, especially our African American community members," Harlan said.
Morgan acknowledged use of the slur and apologized in a statement released by the school.
"In 2013 I made a terrible mistake," he said. "I used a racial slur in a text message. This language is offensive and hurtful to not only the African American community, but to all. Immediately after sending it, I apologized to the recipient and his family. I am also heartbroken over the potential breach of trust with my fellow coaches, and with the young men in our program, both past and present."
Scalley has been an assistant at Utah for 13 years, the past five as defensive coordinator.
Beavers dismiss player
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State has dismissed a football player after a recording surfaced of him making racist and bigoted comments some three years ago.
Upon learning of the comments made by redshirt freshman tight end Rocco Carley, Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith took the matter to athletic director Scott Barnes.
"We both agreed this language and attitude is entirely unacceptable, regardless of circumstance or environment. I spoke with Rocco and dismissed him from the team. I will not tolerate racism or hate speech," Smith posted on Twitter.
Carley issued an apology on social media after the recording went public Wednesday.
"I am truthfully sorry to everyone I have hurt and offended, and I understand that I have not represented me or my family in any positive way during this situation," he said. "To all of my brothers, teammates and everyone of color that I have associated with, I hope that you know me well enough to know I am in no way shape or form a racist. Again I apologize, and I could not be more ashamed of my actions."