Iowa's Offense Stinks Because of Nepotism

Slate's Kirshner says Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has turned 'public resource into a job program' for son
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2022 5:38 PM CDT
Iowa's Offense Stinks Because of Nepotism
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, right, and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz walk along the sideline during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

The Iowa Hawkeye offense is terrible this season. That’s not a matter of opinion but simple statistics: out of 131 teams in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Division, Iowa ranks 130th in yards per play and 127th in scoring. According to Slate’s Alex Kirshner, the problem is nepotism. Specifically, Kirschner points the finger at head coach Kirk Ferentz, who "has turned a public resource into a job program" for his son, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. And while nepotism is already "a systemic, pervasive problem in coaching," Kirschner says Iowa "stands apart for the shamelessness with which Kirk Ferentz and his nominal boss, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, put it into motion."

To comply with the school’s nepotism policy, Brian Ferentz reports to Barta rather than his dad. In other words, the head coach technically does not oversee his own offensive coordinator. At this point, Kirschner writes, "just about everyone who doesn’t have decision-making power" wants change, as exemplified by chants of "Fire Brian" from the student section at a recent game, but Barta says he doesn’t intend to force change midseason. As an "aggravating factor," Kirschner also points out that both Ferentzes are being sued by former players over "systemic racism and discrimination." For Brian Ferentz, the only penalty for poor performance was a smaller-than-normal raise in his salary of roughly $900,000. Meanwhile, his dad makes $7 million, which Kirshner says "should at least buy a commitment that every decision he makes will be in the best interest of the team." Read the whole article here. (Read more University of Iowa stories.)

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