UI Responds to SI.com Story
March 2, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa responded today to an article that appeared in SI.com that indicated the UI football program had 18 student-athletes on its 2010 football roster who had been charged with a criminal offense.
The University of Iowa does not have access to the detail behind the SI.com report that examined the 2010 pre-season top 25 college football programs, however, the UI does know that a total number of 18 student-athletes who were on the 2010 team roster have been charged with offenses since 2007.
Underage consumption of alcohol and extreme consumption of alcohol have been issues for The University of Iowa and Iowa City community for several years. Staff of the UI and the City of Iowa City have and are currently collaborating on a number of efforts to address these concerns.
The University of Iowa does not currently do criminal background checks of student-athletes it is recruiting for participation in its intercollegiate athletics program. UI coaches do routinely have extensive conversation with parents, high school coaches, and other individuals important in the lives of student-athletes they are recruiting.
The following comment is from Gary Barta, director of athletics at the University of Iowa:
"I learned about the SI story this morning. Our total number of incidents match that in the story, however, the detail shows that all 18 of our incidents were misdemeanors and that the vast majority were related to poor decision-making associated with alcohol. And, as many in Iowa know, this has been an ongoing concern for all students on our campus and in our community.
"Each incident involving a student-athlete is taken seriously and handled according to our student-athlete code of conduct. Some football student-athletes who have had an incident while a participant in our program have successfully graduated, others are still with us, and others are no longer a part of the program.
"I am very confident in Kirk's approach to recruiting. I know he and his staff go to great lengths in trying to assess character when deciding whether to invite a young man to the UI. Like the vast majority of our peers, we don't do official criminal background checks.
"Recruiting quality student-athletes in all sports is of the utmost importance to me and our coaches. I am anxious to continue discussions with my peers in the state and in the Big Ten Conference and beyond on whether criminal background checks need to become a regular piece of our recruiting process.
"Lastly, I continue to be impressed and pleased with the work of the overwhelming majority of our football student-athletes in their athletics competition, in the classroom, and as representatives of the University of Iowa on a daily basis."
The following comment is from Kirk Ferentz, head football coach at the University of Iowa:
"For 12 years we have dealt promptly, firmly, consistently, and within the student-athlete code of conduct when we have incidents involving members of our football program. My staff and I will continue to work to ensure our student-athletes are successful as a student, as an athlete, and as a citizen of the Iowa City community."