Tag:Iowa
Posted on: January 27, 2011 8:08 pm
 

Hospitalized Hawkeyes all pass drug tests

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While the rhabdomyolysis that thirteen Iowa Hawkeyes are currently hospitalized is commonly caused by extreme physical exertion, drug use can lead to the condition as well. Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can bring on the kidney ailment, which is why the doctors at the Iowa Hospitals and Clinics felt it prudent to test each of the thirteen players for drug use.

According to a report by The Sporting News, all those tests have come back negative. Though just because the players all tested clean for illegal drugs, that does not rule out that supplements may have played a part in all of this. Either way, considering the problems that have occurred at Iowa involving football players and drugs in recent months, at least this is one less thing for the school to worry about.

One thing that Iowa, specifically head coach Kirk Ferentz, should worry about are the parents of the players in the hospital. According to the report, when Ferentz returned to Iowa City on Wednesday night, he met with the players' parents before meeting with the players, and those parents gave him an earful. Seems they didn't appreciate Ferentz taking so long to return from a recruiting trip after finding out about his players and their children.

“Kirk took a lot of (stuff),” a source told The Sporting News. “But he stood there and took it all. He’s been incredibly remorseful about the whole thing.”

Ferentz was expected to meet with his players again on Thursday night, as all thirteen are expected to spend at least one more night in the hospital.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Iowa to launch investigation into hospitalization

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It hasn't been the greatest week for the Iowa football program following the hospitalization of 13 members of the football team, and the ensuing press conference. The players were all hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis following strenuous workouts last week, and now the school wants to find out what happened to cause such a mass outbreak of the unusual muscle disorder.

Which is why the school's Board of Regents announced on Thursday that they're ordering an investigation of the situation.
Board of Regents President David Miles and school President Sally Mason call the case "a cause for grave concern."
They agreed the university will have 90 days to complete an investigation analyzing events and the results will be presented to the Board of Regents. The review will involve independent experts.
Hopefully the investigation will yield more answers than Wednesday's press conference did. As Adam Jacobi already went over on the blog, yesterday's press conference was not exactly the most enlightening hour. The only information that came out that seemed helpful, other than finding out that the players will be hospitalized a few more days and are recovering, came from one of the player's fathers, Biff Poggi. It also opened up head coach Kirk Ferentz and AD Gary Barta to a lot of criticism since neither were in town for the press conference, with Ferentz recruiting in Ohio and Barta golfing.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Ferentz, Iowa AD locations revealed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Yesterday Iowa hosted a press conference regarding the mysterious hospitalization of 13 of its players that virtually every observer, this blog included, regarded as a "near-total disaster ." The major complaint: despite the grave importance of the issue and the need to present the most united front possible, neither head coach Kirk Ferentz nor athletic director Gary Barta were present at the press conference. In fact, no Iowa football coaches were present at all.

So putting aside the issue of why strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle wasn't present to address the workouts that had led to the hospitalizations, where were Ferentz and Barta in the program's hour of need? Columnist Mike Hlas of the Iowa City Gazette has your answers:
Barta was out of town on Wednesday. He will be in the Fort Myers-Naples, Fla. area through at least Friday. An annual University of Iowa Athletic Association fundraising golf event is in Naples on Friday ...

“He made the best decision he could make based on what he needs to do,” said Iowa senior associate athletic director Jane Meyer , who didn’t flinch from taking questions herself after the press conference ...

Ferentz, meanwhile, was in Cleveland to reportedly meet with Glenville High School Coach Ted Ginn about possible future recruits. The night before, he was in Strongsville, Ohio, to visit with a high school tight end who has verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.

Hlas correctly points out that even if Ferentz and Barta were present at the press conference, the notoriously media-unfriendly duo wouldn't have yielded much more information, if any, than was revealed anyway.

But regardless, their entirely-avoidable absence sends the message -- as inaccurate as it certainly is -- that they don't view the hospitalization of 13 (13! ) of their players as an issue that's really all that important. Ferentz and Barta appear to believe, even if they don't, that a serious health issue that took place within their team on their watch isn't worth their time. As Hlas writes:

They’re the two main men of Hawkeye sports, the leader of the athletic department and the boss of all things football. Unless they have their own family crises, when 13 of their athletes are in a hospital, they have to be the faces and voices that are out front.

How much damage their absence will really do -- how much damage the gushing torrent of bad press can actually cause -- is highly debatable. But there's no question that their unwillingness to confront the issue in person has done nothing to make an already ugly situation for the Hawkeye program any better.


Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Iowa news conference a near-total disaster

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the wake of the outbreak of rhabdomyolysis that sent now 13 Iowa players to the hospital (another was admitted today), fans have understandably been looking for more answers from the university than just "'safe and stable' with an undisclosed illness." To that end, the university athletic department held a press conference late this afternoon to address the situation.

Except, head coach Kirk Ferentz wasn't there; he was still getting back into town from his recruiting trip. And athletic director Gary Barta wasn't there; he presumably had better things to do. No Iowa football coaches were there at all, including strength and condiitioning coach Chris Doyle or any of his asistants. In fact, the only three people at the press conference were director of football operations Paul Federici, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics kidney specialist John Stokes, and freshman linebacker Jim Poggi's father, Biff Poggi.

What ensued, at least for the first part of the the conference, was another exercise in stonewalling and excessive privacy from Iowa. While we can't expect Stokes or Federici to address the players' identities and conditions -- that would be a direct violation of not only the trust of players and their families, but federal HIPPA laws about patient privacy as well -- we can certainly expect more than Federici's abject refusal to admit any knowledge of any particulars about the offseason workouts other than what days they took place. Again, he's the director of football operations at Iowa. Does Federici -- who was a former head of training at Iowa before moving into his administrative role -- seriously have no personal knowledge of what happens during these offseason workouts? Is that even remotely acceptable? 

In fact, Biff Poggi went into more detail about the workouts and the conditions of the players than both Stokes and Federici ever did, as the latter two hid behind lack of personal knowledge and an unusually broad interpretation of the HIPPA laws. Obviously, when Jim Poggi started posting (since-deleted) details of his hospitalization on Facebook, that expectation of privacy went out the window and Biff Poggi was allowed to address his son's condition. Poggi also addressed the prevailing mood of the hospitalized players, saying "they want to get back and start playing."

While it's obviously disconcerting that neither Barta nor Ferentz were at the press conference, it's also naive to believe that either would have said, well, anything substantial or above what Federici would have said -- namely, that the workouts happened on specific days and that they were within NCAA regulations. Anyone who believes otherwise has a very short memory, considering the dearth of specifics that came from the last press conference Iowa held. That was just last month, as Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had been arrested the week prior and rumors had been flying about potential drug use on the team. That day, it was 60% an overview of Iowa's drug testing, 35% of hectoring the Internet, and 5% of new information; the ratio would likely have been similar today.

It's like this far too often at Iowa. Whenever something bad happens, communication from the athletic department is so insufficient that it creates a vacuum of information, and speculation from outside sources fills that vacuum every single time. That's not an Iowa-only phenomenon, it's how PR works. To have 12 (eventually 13) players admitted to a hospital at once with a similar medical issue (and make no mistake, the Iowa trainers clearly had a very good idea of what that issue was when they referred the players to the hospital, to say nothing of by the time that press release had been sent the next day) and expect the matter to be resolved with "no further comment" is at best irresponsible behavior for an athletic department. At worst, it's incompetent and borderline exploitative.

And it's just par for the course for Iowa.

Posted on: January 25, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 5:46 pm
 

12 Iowa players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Iowa football team is recovering from a major scare today, as 12 members of the team are currently hospitalized. Here's the release from the UI athletic department:

Twelve University of Iowa football student-athletes are recovering after being admitted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Monday evening.

A University of Iowa staff physician and football team physician confirmed Tuesday that the student-athletes were responding well to treatment.

“The student-athletes were admitted throughout the course of Monday evening,” said the UIHC staff physician. “All of the individuals are responding well to treatment as of Tuesday morning. All are in safe and stable condition. At this time we are not sure when any of the individuals will be discharged. Hospital discharge will be on a case by case basis.”

“Coach Kirk Ferentz is out of town recruiting, but he is aware of the situation and is being kept abreast of the progress being made,” said Gary Barta, UI director of athletics. “Our No. 1 concern is the safety of our student-athletes, so we are pleased with the positive feedback. Our next step is to find out what happened so we can avoid this happening in the future.”

Individual medical conditions, or identity of the student athletes, will not be released. The UI expects no further comment at this time.

A source close to the team confirmed to CBSSports.com that the malady afflicting the players is a kidney condition brought on after an excessively intense offseason workout. Also, that would corroborate the story of freshman linebacker Jim Poggi, who posted on Facebook that he was hospitalized after his "wizz" (urine) turned brown ($$$ link, sorry), which is a condition that can be caused by overexertion.

Still, as the release mentioned, the players are safe and stable, and we don't expect any worsening of condition or long-term problems to come from this. It's scary, sure, but not a life- or program-changer by any stretch of the imagination.

UPDATE: The Cedar Rapids Gazette's Marc Morehouse confirmed on Twitter that the players are suffering from exertional rhabdomyolysis.

Posted on: January 24, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 4:42 pm
 

Johnson-Koulianos drug charges dropped, deferred

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (or "DJK," as he's commonly known), a charismatic and productive senior wide receiver who was dismissed from the Iowa football team after being arrested for numerous drug charges, may have a clean criminal record again in just 12 months. Last week, Johnson County prosecutors declined to pursue drug house charge, leaving just the possession charges. Now, as the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports, Johnson-Koulianos has pled guilty to marijuana possession in exchange for all the other charges being dropped.

Better yet for Johnson-Koulianos, the judge granted him a deferred judgment on the marijuana charge, meaning that if DJK stays out of trouble for 12 months while on unsupervised probation, the charge will be dropped:

Sixth Judicial District Associate Court Judge Stephen Gerard II said in the ruling that he granted the deferred judgment based on Johnson-Koulianos’ age, lack of prior record, absence of any weapons used in commission of the crime, and “greater opportunities for rehabilitation outside of a place of incarceration.”

Now, this is a college football blog and not a drug policy blog, so we'll keep this brief: it is refreshing to see a judge recognize that prison is no place for a non-violent, first-time drug offender, regardless of his or her football acumen or affiliation. The responsibility is squarely on DJK's shoulders to make sure he keeps up his end of the bargain, of course, but granting people in his situation responsibility is generally a much more positive decision for society as a whole than locking someone like that up for an extended period of time.

Past that, this ruling doesn't affect DJK's standing with the Hawkeyes in any material fashion. Kirk Ferentz closed the door on any further involvement between DJK and the football program back in December, and DJK has already moved to Chicago to train for the NFL Draft with EFT Sports Performance. He's also currently in Texas training for February's NFLPA Game (formerly "Texas vs. the Nation"). As to whether he'll be drafted, that's tough to say; arrests are always red flags in a NFL GM's eyes regardless of their resolution, and that executive-level paranoia only intensifies the closer the incident is to the draft itself. But as Iowa's all-time leading receiver, Johnson-Koulianos should at least be on several teams' radars, and if he's really got the talent to play at the next level, a roster spot is all he'll need.


Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Headset Reset: Welcome to the Pac-12 and Big Ten

Posted by Adam Jacobi

"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

DAVID SHAW, Stanford

Why him? Shaw represents a reaffirmation of the Jim Harbaugh regime, which rose from doormat to Pac-10 power with Shaw as offensive coordinator. Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby didn't get Boise State head coach Chris Petersen during negotiations after Harbaugh's departure, but Bowlsby's bona fides in football coach hiring are pretty solid. By hiring Shaw (and interviewing two other in-house candidates), Stanford has told its fans, "it ain't broke, and we're not fixin'."  By 2014, Shaw will need to: perpetuate Stanford's recent successes. Harbaugh isn't the first coach to win at Stanford, and he's also not the first coach to bolt for greener pastures at the first opportunity. So being that Stanford's main opposition in the Pac-12 North is Oregon and four programs with a light history of success (and let's ignore Stanford's time in that role since 40 years ago), there's an opportunity for the Cardinal to assert some authority.  Chances Shaw gets what he needs? Pretty good. Stanford's athletic department has a surprising amount of money, and with Oregon and Nike trying to start an arms race with the rest of the Pac-12, Stanford is one of the few schools that can probably keep up -- as long as it still wants to, anyway.

JON EMBREE, Colorado

Why him? Well, let's just not ask Bill McCartney that question. Past that, Embree was hired because he's a former Buffalo, and it would take a Colorado man to take this job and not flee the first time the Buffaloes put together seven wins in a season. By 2014, Embree will need to: get his team competitive with USC -- or whoever else is atop the Pac-12 South. There's no indication that Colorado's better or even as good as the rest of the division it's entering. CU can thank Dan Hawkins in some respects for that, but really, Colorado football hasn't been relevant for almost 15 years (yes, CU went to two consecutive Big XII Championships ... and lost them by a hilarious combined score of 112-6). Continued sub-mediocrity won't fly, especially as the Buffaloes try to acclimate themselves to a new conference without the strong tradition of success the Big XII had. Chances Embree gets what he needs? Not great. Colorado has struggled with keeping its football program relevant ever since the shared title year of 1990, even with some apparently decent head coaching hires. The move from the Big XII North to the Pac-12 South won't help lighten the Buffaloes' burden any, either. Colorado's struggles could very well be an institutional problem, not a coaching problem, and if that's the case it's probably easy to see how the Jon Embree Era will end in Boulder.

KEVIN WILSON, Indiana

Why him? This might actually be the most surprising hire of 2010, mainly because we didn't know Indiana could do something like this. The Hoosiers tabbed the vaunted Oklahoma offensive coordinator for his first head coaching gig, and they briefly had Boise State WR coach Brent Pease as the offensive coordinator. Hello, points! Problem was, Boise State's OC position opened up, and Pease went back to Boise for that gig, as would most sane coaches. This is still Indiana we're talking about. By 2014, Wilson will need to: prove that his offensive genius wasn't just "hand the ball to Adrian Peterson or DeMarco Murray and watch what happens." It likely wasn't, of course; Texas ably demonstrated this year that there's no such thing as a team too talented to get run into the ground by mediocre coaching. But still, the question remains; what's Wilson going to do when week in and week out, his players are inferior to their opponents? Chances Wilson gets what he needs? The better question here is whether Indiana gets what it needs, which is a solid football program led by a solid coach. That seems unlikely. Either Wilson fails badly in Bloomington like pretty much everyone before him, or he actually puts together a winning season, and starts getting wooed by job offers. What's going to keep Wilson in town when that starts happening? He doesn't have any prior connection to Indiana (both the school and the state itself), and his salary is only ("only") $1.2 million. As soon as he wins six games in a season up there, he's getting phone calls.

BRADY HOKE, Michigan

Why him? Michigan went back to its roots by hiring a former assistant, effectively admitting that the Rich Rodriguez dalliance was a mistake (also conveying that message: firing Rich Rodriguez) and that there was a formula to be followed. Hoke has whipped two programs into shape in short order, and he'll need to do it again at Michigan, which is just a mess. By 2014, Hoke will need to: have Michigan reloading instead of rebuilding. Michigan's biggest challengers in its new division are Nebraska and maybe Iowa or Northwestern. Hoke has no excuses for not routinely making the conference championship (or if not, being just a game out). Beating Ohio State would also be strongly recommended. Chances Hoke gets what he needs? Pretty darn good. Michigan has the resources, tradition, and expectations to get at least 10 wins a year, and now it's got a coach that can make that happen too. The common theme about the Hoke hire was that it wasn't "sexy," which means he's literally not an attractive person and/or that his teams play defense. Neither fact is a valid reason not to like this hire. Hoke wasn't Michigan's first choice, but neither was Jim Tressel at OSU. That's not to say "hiring fifth choice = national championship" is a valid strategy, but it's just extremely unlikely that there's only one right choice at a school with the inherent advantages that Michigan or any other traditional college football power would have. Jim Harbaugh probably would have succeeded at Michigan. So might Hoke. So might a cardboard cutout of Bo Schembechler (which is what the older part of Michigan's fanbase really wants in its heart of hearts anyway).

JERRY KILL, Minnesota

Why him? Aside from the obvious--that his name is literally just "Kill"--Minnesota hired a guy with 200 games of head coaching experience and a 63.5% winning percentage, all before his 50th birthday. Kill has succeeded in the MAC, where success is fleeting at best, and at a Southern Illinois program that wasn't really in good shape when he arrived. The track record's there, in other words. By 2014, Kill will need to: keep the stadium full. Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium is the newest house on the block in the Big Ten, but it's not exactly the biggest -- more like the opposite of that word. The luster of the new stadium was already wearing off by the time Tim Brewster was fired, as the team struggled to fill the stadium or do anything else of merit.  Chances Kill gets what he needs? Well, this depends solely on Kill's recruiting ability. He's been a head coach for almost 20 years, all of which came in the Midwest, so he knows the drill, and he knows the coaches. He just hasn't tried to land any big names before, and while bringing big names to Minnesota seems like a challenge, both Brewster and Glen Mason did it every now and then. So there's a chance he makes a turnaround happen.


Posted on: January 17, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Adam Robinson wants to return to Iowa

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been two weeks since Adam Robinson was kicked off of the Iowa football team by head coach Kirk Ferentz, and now that some time has passed, Robinson is hoping he can work his way back on the team.  Over the weekend, and under the advice of his attorney, Robinson called a pseudo-press conference with select members of the Iowa media.

In that press conference Robinson apologized for the actions that led to his dismissal, and expressed his desire to return to the Hawkeyes.

“I apologize to my family, former teammates, coaches, my friends, the Hawkeye nation and everyone who supported me,” said Robinson. "I know I have disappointed you, and let you down. For that, I am sorry.  I promise to do better, and I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me.”

Robinson is seeking forgiveness for what Kirk Ferentz coined as "academic indigestion" along with a charge for marijuana possession after being pulled over in a car with marijuana in it.  Considering Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had recently been arrested for living in what the police deemed a "drug house," it's hard to blame Ferentz for his decision.  He's trying to clean up the image of his program.

That being said, what Robinson has done is not exactly along the lines of a "drug house."  He was a college kid caught with pot.  Imagine that.  Robinson is enrolled in classes at Iowa this semester, and if he gets the work done and clears up the "indigestion," then I'd like to think Ferentz would reinstate him on the football team.  He's made a mistake, he's apologized, and now he's working to fix it.

I'm not sure what else Ferentz or the Iowa football program could ask of him.
 
 
 
 
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