Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz denied a report that he had disbanded an alumni advisory committee after its chair recommended the school hire a new football coach, staff and athletic director. The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette reported Sunday that Ferentz dissolved the group this month after the committee's chair suggested it was time for the program to "bring in a new head football coach, football staff, and athletic director."
The committee was formed by Ferentz himself in 2020 in response to allegations of racism within the Hawkeyes' program.
But Ferentz wrote Monday in a letter to the parents of players that the group has not been disbanded or dissolved, claiming instead that the group is ongoing and that he is in the process of inviting new members. He also noted, however, that the group "had no official decision-making power."
"I created this group to help me," the letter said in bold wording, while underscoring that it was "not" initiated in any official capacity by the university or athletic department.
Iowa announced a contract extension through 2029 for Ferentz last week. The 66-year-old is the program's all-time wins leader with a 178-110 record in 23 seasons. In his letter, he said the goal of the advisory group was to "identify ways to build understanding and improve the environment."
He noted changes such as the program's relaxed dress code, new social media freedoms for players and permitting players to express their opinions during the national anthem. He also wrote that several members of the committee had indicated their interest in stepping away from the committee in December "as they felt their work had made a real impact and the time was right to transition to a new group of voices."
The committee chair who suggested that it was time for a leadership overhaul was David Porter, a former offensive lineman, who played for the Hawkeyes from 1999 to 2002. However, Porter's opinion was not unanimous. Shortly after Porter's remarks were made public by the Gazette, another member of the advisory committee, former player Jordan Lomax, shot back.
"Instead of being so quick to write an article you guys should've reached out to the other committee members for their thoughts," Lomax wrote on Twitter. "This is a one-sided article and only David Porter's opinion, which I, and others disagreed with."
That disagreement from within the committee speaks to the notion that it was "going down in flames," as one source told The Athletic. Ferentz indicated that new members of the advisory group will be players who have completed their playing careers in recent years as well as "select outside voices."
Ferentz wrote that the new members "will add fresh perspectives to inform my thought process."