Iowa Hawkeyes football coach Kirk Ferentz will not be deposed in a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, as the judge presiding over the case delayed it for two weeks.
Iowa Hawkeyes football coach Kirk Ferentz has been ordered to delay his deposition in a racial discrimination lawsuit. The case is against the University of Iowa and its former Director of Athletics.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KFVS) – A federal court decided that Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz would not be required to spend the Hawkeyes’ bye week taking questions from attorneys representing former Black players who claim they were discriminated against.
On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Helen Adams approved a request to dismiss subpoenas requiring the veteran coach and his son to attend for depositions on October 19 and 20. She suggested the depositions might be postponed until the end of the season in January, as the Ferentzes and university attorneys had asked.
The decision comes as No. 3 Iowa prepares to face No. 4 Penn State on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Following accusations of racial discrimination against the university, Brian Ferentz, and Chris Doyle, the team’s former strength and conditioning coach, lawyers representing seven former players wanted to take depositions.
The trial for the players’ case is scheduled for March 2023.
Former athletes claim they were called racist insults, made to change their haircuts, clothes, and culture to suit Kirk Ferentz’s “Iowa Way,” held to different standards than white players, and punished against for speaking out.
After dozens of former players claimed on social media that he had harassed and discriminated against them, the university decided to pay Doyle $1.1 million as part of a resignation deal in June 2020. The accusations have been refuted by Doyle.
The program’s regulations “perpetuated racial and cultural prejudices and devalued the importance of cultural variety,” according to an inquiry by an independent law firm, and enabled coaches to degrade participants without penalty. In response, Kirk Ferentz made a number of adjustments that the players liked.
In a court filing this week, Kirk Ferentz claimed that having to testify in Des Moines or via Zoom for a deposition on Oct. 20 that might take several hours would be “very onerous,” adding that the bye week is jam-packed with events.
As Iowa prepares to face Wisconsin on Oct. 30, he said the absence of the head coach and offensive coordinator during sessions would be “a huge disturbance.” Before delivering his evidence, he said he would not have enough time to examine documents and speak with attorneys about the case.
“I feel that if I am forced to prepare on one day, have my deposition taken on another, then attend the deposition of Brian Ferentz on a third day, which I understand I am allowed to attend as representative, I will miss at least three days of attending to my responsibilities as head coach,” he said.
A similar statement was submitted with the court by Brian Ferentz.
As a compromise, attorneys representing the ex-players offered to accept Kirk Ferentz’s deposition via Zoom and postpone Brian Ferentz’s, but university lawyers turned down the idea.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys claimed that they had a legal right to pursue their claims quickly, and that “there is simply no privilege that shields football coaches from being deposed during football season.”
“Football coaches are not the only plaintiffs whose professions demand a significant amount of time and effort, and their jobs are no less essential than those of physicians, CEOs, police chiefs, and government agency heads who are asked to testify in civil proceedings on a regular basis,” they said.
Adams decided that the Ferentzes were not given “sufficient time to prepare” when the subpoenas were issued last month, citing their hectic schedules and the wide-ranging allegations made by the players. Delaying the depositions for two or three months, she claims, will benefit no one.
The court also determined that the depositions would cause “severe hardship” to the Ferentzes during the football season. Even Zoom depositions, she observed, would take a long time to prepare, and the Ferentzes’ private counsel was unavailable on those days.
Kirk Ferentz was already discharged as a defendant and the scope of the lawsuit was limited by a separate federal court.
Brian Ferentz and Doyle are being sued by former players Aaron Mends, Brandon Simon, Javon Foy, Akrum Wadley, Marcel Joly, Jonathan Parker, and Darian Cooper for discrimination. Foy, Mends, and Simon are also looking into allegations that the show was racially unfriendly.
The iowa football espn is a news story about an Iowa Hawkeyes college football coach, Kirk Ferentz, who was scheduled to be deposed in a racial discrimination case. The judge has delayed the deposition until October because of the ongoing case.
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