Tag:Gary Barta
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:29 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 9:37 pm
 

Marcus Coker released after assault investigation

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Iowa Hawkeyes announced on Tuesday that Marcus Coker, the sophomore tailback who led the team with 1384 rushing yards and 15 yards and was named second team All-Big Ten in 2011, had been released from his scholarship and would transfer. Coker had been suspended days before the team's Insight Bowl appearance against Oklahoma, which the Sooners won 31-14.

Iowa's announcement said that Coker had originally been suspended after violating the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, and on Tuesday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta again declined to provide any more specifics. But an open records request by the Iowa City Press-Citizen revealed a sexual assault investigation against Coker dating from an October 28 incident at his residence.

According to that report, a woman reported to police that she was the victim of an assault at Coker’s residence, 618 Iowa Ave. The alleged assault took place sometime between 1:15-1:30 p.m. on Oct. 28.

The circumstances surrounding the assault are not detailed in the report, but it does note that the responding officer was dispatched to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a sexual assault.

Iowa City Police Lt. Doug Hart said Coker was investigated for assault. However, after conferring with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, prosecution was not pursued. Hart said the alleged victim also did not want to prosecute.

Nobody involved in the situation has indicated whether the investigation against Coker was what affected his status with the team, though the police department did say that the situation had been relayed to the Iowa athletic department, as per usual procedure.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Coker left this message on his Facebook page last week: "Everything happens for a reason..cant tell people i did something when i didnt. So hints y i never answered those questions. Anyway thanks everyone for the support especially hawknation and fam. Go hawks..hawk for life."

Freshman running back Mika'il McCall also left the Iowa program last week, so Coker's departure makes it a remarkable 12 straight running backs who have left Iowa before their senior seasons. Damian Sims, who signed with Iowa in 2004, was the last scholarship RB recruit to play four full seasons with the Hawkeyes.

Kirk Ferentz is unavailable for comment, according to the university.

For more breaking news on this situation and the rest of the Iowa Hawkeyes, read the CBSSports.com Iowa RapidReports by Brendan Stiles.

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Posted on: February 3, 2011 6:20 pm
 

Three fired for accessing Iowa players' records

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When the massive case of rhabdomyolysis hit the Iowa football team last month, football fans understandably wanted to know what caused it all, why 13 young men had to be sent to the hospital before their kidneys failed. And since we all turn into Dr. Gregory House whenever we're on the internet, some people noticed that one of the causes of rhabdo can be certain types of drug use. Say, didn't an Iowa player or two get arrested over drugs? Didn't athletic director Gary Barta say at the press conference that Iowa's drug testing program could have been compromised? Did House figure out another medical mystery?

Well, no; reports from the hospital shortly thereafter indicated that all 13 players had tested negative for drugs, so that theory was out the window (where it belonged in the first place). But hang on; aren't there federal laws prohibiting that type of information being leaked by anybody but the patients or the immediate family members of every single one of them? Yes, there are, and that's what got two hospital employees suspended ... and three more fired:

University of Iowa officials are in the process of firing three staff members and suspending two others without pay for five days for their roles in inappropriately accessing electronic medical records of 13 UI football players who were in the hospital.

The unidentified players were being treated for rhabdomyolysis, a rare muscle disorder.

UI spokesman Tom Moore declined to identify the names of the staff members, what information they accessed or how it was used, citing federal and institutional privacy laws and policies.

Seriously, people; federal privacy laws are no joke, and the UI Hospitals and Clinics really had no option but to take severe action against those involved. Even if the leak was intended to clear the program's name, the hospital isn't about to suspend enforcement of HIPPA laws just because the patients are anonymous and famous.

However, we at CBS know that readers value information over secrecy, so we're prepared to name all five disciplined staff members! They are, in alphabetical order... wait, our editors are standing outside with spiked bats and pitchforks. Never mind.

Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:40 pm
 

All 13 Iowa players released from hospital

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Good news on Friday got better today as the University of Iowa confirmed in a statement that all 13 players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis have been released from the U of I Hospital.

Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz, under fire for his public handling of the situation, apologized for the incident:
“Getting all 13 student-athletes healthy and out of the hospital has been priority number one all along, so I’m very happy that they all are now back home and resuming their lives" ...

“These young men and their families have been through a difficult and trying time. They are under my supervision and watch, and I am truly sorry for what they’ve experienced. They trained extremely hard and ended up in the hospital, and there is no indication they did anything wrong. So I’m pleased they are progressing well and I look forward to seeing all of them being back to normal.”

Ferentz also took the opportunity to criticize the swirling rumor mill regarding the cause of the rhabomyolysis outbreak, calling the speculation "unfair and inappropriate." Athletic director Gary Barta, in his first public statement since the outbreak, asked that fans "refrain from any further unproductive rush to judgment."

Until an investigation determines the official cause of the outbreak, some level of speculation will inevitably continue. But with all 13 players well on their way to recovery and no longer needing hospital care, tonight that major positive is far outweighing that increasingly minor negative.

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.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com