Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave, with immediate effect, after dozens of social media postings by former black athletes describe a culture of systemic racism in the Iowa football program.
Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz made the revelation on Saturday evening, while also mentioning the creation of an advisory committee to respond to “a call for cultural change.” Doyle has been the Iowa strength and conditioning coach since Ferentz ‘first year in 1999.
Here is Ferentz’s full statement:
“This is a defining moment for the Iowa Hawkeye football program.
In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen difficult and heartbreaking social media posts. I appreciate the frankness of former players and have contacted several of them individually to learn more about their experiences in our program. I plan to speak to them all in the coming days. It’s a process that will take some time, but the change starts with listening first.
“There has been a lot of talk about our strength and fitness program and about coach Chris Doyle. I spoke with him about the allegations published on social networks. They are disturbing and have had a lasting impact on these players. As a result, Coach Doyle was placed on administrative leave immediately while an independent review may take place. He and I agree that all parties will make their voices heard, and then a decision on how we move forward will be made.
“There has been a call for a cultural change in our program. Therefore, I create an advisory committee, chaired by a former player and made up of current and former players as well as department staff. It will be a diverse group that will be able to share without judgment so that we can all examine where we are today and how we can have a better environment tomorrow.
“Football is a game of discipline and sacrifice. In our program, we have high standards and accountability. And we have a good team of players, coaches and staff. But it is clear that we can do more to create a better environment, a respectful environment where each player can grow, develop and become the best version of himself.
“As I told the team earlier this week. I am a white soccer coach. Teaching is what I do. But it’s also important to know when to be the student.
“Several days ago, players asked for permission to post on social media so that they could participate in the national discussion on injustice, racism and inequality. As a team, we agreed last Thursday to lift the long-standing ban on social media, so you will see them entering the now broader conversation.
“These are painful moments. As a leader, you can learn a lot by listening, but at some point you have to act. Finally, I told the team that change starts with us, but in reality it starts with me. “
Doyle, the highest-paid strength and fitness trainer in college football, was scheduled to begin overseeing voluntary player training on Monday when the Hansen Football Performance Center opens to veterans for the first time since mid-March due of the COVID-19 pandemic. .
Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta has announced that Raimond Braithwaite, who has been black and has been on the staff for 15 years, will lead Iowa’s strength and fitness program during this time.
“Ultimately, our success will be defined by our actions,” Barta said in a statement. “Our greatest victory will not be found in a boxing score but in a desire to speak out against racism, and to make every student athlete, coach and staff member feel safe, supported and have a voice that is empowered. “