Posted by: marcmwm | July 25, 2008

Ferentz speaks, Part III

Here’s the Q&A (more than 25 of the 40-minute session was spent in Q&A, so he didn’t hide behind handlers):

Question: Had you already removed the players from the team by the next game? Had you heard all that you needed to hear?

Ferentz: I have to be careful about what I can say. I will share this; I met with the players involved, more than two players. My decisions were made in compliance with our student- athlete code of conduct and in compliance with contents of that meeting and with the answers I was given in that meeting. I’m not a detective, but there were some things that just didn’t measure up, it’s as simple as that.

Question: Did you put your neck on line by taking them off the team based on allegations?

Ferentz: I was in compliance with our student-athlete code of conduct. On that front, I hope people can appreciate this . . . First of all, I was not trying anybody involved in this. That’s not my job. I’m not a judge. I don’t have forensic evidence, certainly I didn’t at that time and to this day I don’t. As of the 17th, that was my last involvement, the meeting that Wednesday. That was my last involvement in the formal procedure. I only acted on the things a football coach could act on. Based on the knowledge I had, the information I had from several people, I acted on what I had. I think I acted fairly. You have to be very cautious anytime you’re dealing with discipline. This the stickiest of all issues you could deal with, and the most unsavory, distasteful and the first one in my career I’ve ever been around and, hopefully, the last one, but I can’t make an assurance there, either, because that’s the world we live in, unfortunately. What happened on our campus — we don’t know all the facts — happens on every campus in America. It’s just a very distasteful thing. I’ve got two college-aged daughters. That’s common sense. All I could do was act on what I had and what I felt was appropriate and fair and I’ll continue to operate in that manner.

Question: I know that players have to live somewhere, but they were back in the dorm.

Ferentz: There’s only so much power a football coach has and only so much control. I don’t have the right to pull anybody out of the dormitory. I don’t have that authority. It’s not just cut and dry, black and white. We’re talking about that has an awful lot of gray area. I think we all know a case like that has is typically that way. I took the action I was allowed to take, that was appropriate and that was it. As you might imagine, I talked to the parties involved and instructed them to be on the best of their conduct and also assumed if there was any turbulence on anybody’s part, I was hopeful that would be reported to me and I would take whatever actions appropriate. But at that point I would have to work through Gary and University officials.”

Question: Doesn’t UI policy say that the coach of an offending player or players in this case, and the athletic director are not permitted to speak with the victim at any point? Yet the parents of said victim requested to speak with both of you?

Ferentz: I don’t pretend to be an expert in our policy, along those lines, it’s like anything in compliance. If I have a question, I ask someone that does know. Any action I took, I conferred with Gary for obvious reasons and I think he has been consistent in say that was within the policy of the University. I think it’s part of the discussion, but my guess is the policy will be re-examined one more time, that will be a result of this whole thing. I think we just went through that process in recent history. All we can do is act on the policy that is there. For obvious reasons, I was not enthused about going to the meeting, I felt uncomfortable about that and I think I speak for Gary. But we were requested to be there. When I walked away, I thought it was very positive for being a very tough circumstance. Positive on all fronts. What I read would contrast with that.

Question: Is it true that the victim’s family not only wanted the players tossed off the team, but kicked out of school immediately?

Ferentz: I can’t comment on that. I took the action I felt was appropriate. I made my decisions based on what I felt was appropriate. I don’t make decisions like that without running them by Gary. That was my initiative. 

Question: Once you gathered the information from talking to them (Everson/Satterfield), were they essentially off the team at that point?

Ferentz: I can’t think of any instance were I kicked anybody off immediately. They were suspended immediately and as the week went on, and I’m really only basing this on conversations because my conversations with the parties involved were ongoing. They probably finished on Thursday evening. I could probably tell you an exact time, 6 or 6;30 on Thursday evening. It was my last conversation as far as information gathering. Pretty much I made the decision on that point where we were going. As you probably know, it’s not as simple as saying, you’re off the team. To remove a player from school, I don’t have that power. To remove a player from scholarship immediately, I don’t have that power. But I do have the power to remove them from team activities and that’s what we did.

Question: Did aspects from the Duke case enter into your thoughts at all during that time?

Ferentz: I’m not here to lecture anyone, but I would ask everyone to be fair minded. If in fact there is a trial, I know there is one scheduled. If that takes place, that is the place for that to be decided. On our end, from my experience, everybody at our end did all they could to follow the proper procedures and that is all that we can do. We have already been judged one time favorably by the board of regents. I’m confident the next review will prove to be the same result. I expect there will be tweaks to the policy. All of us involved are confident we took the proper steps.


Question: There will be a program on the Big Ten Network this year, cameras following Illinois coaches and players around. How would you feel about that?

Ferentz: I haven’t heard anything about that. I’ve asked that this team be judged on its conduct, the conduct of this year. That being said, none of us can turn our back on what happened this past year, not only in thoughts but I think I’ve also got to take a little different approach, too. It may not be fair, but anybody who violates team rules this year, the consequences are going to be a little more severe than in the past. — Just like setting curfews and things of that nature, things I’d rather not do. For young adults, college is supposed to be about learning and teaching and growing up, but at the same time, you have to earn some rights. We have somethings we’re certainly going to address, but I think our emphasis above everything else is going to be on doing a better job of helping young people to transition on a college campus, one where they’re very visible, in a town where they’re very visible. Trying to do a better job of making them aware of what the environment is where they live and also more aware about the kinds of decisions they choose to make. Ultimately, that’s the core of good behavior and bad behavior. If you go back over nine years and anything our players have done improperly, I would suggest that most of them knew in the third grade in most cases and seventh grade for others that right is right and wrong is wrong. I don’t think its more complex for that.

Question: When you told Tillison to move back into his room, at that time did you have any idea that that it would become a crime scene?

Ferentz: No, my mind doesn’t work that way. It was news to me that the room was vacant. I learned (it was vacant) that week. My first thought there was to get people back there in the proper spots.

Question: Do your players have a curfew?

Ferentz: We do right now.

Question: What is it?

Ferentz: I am not going to tell you that.

Question: Did you change it last year?Ferentz: That started back in the fall. We kept it through the spring and curfews don’t guarantee anything. Bad things happen. Unless you are just blind to everything going on, in Iowa City, bad things happen after midnight. You can pinpoint a few nights ago.

Question: Is Riley Reiff (freshman arrested for public intox and interference with official acts last weekend) part of this new process?Ferentz: I think that is fair to say. I am not going into details, but I think it’s fair to say that his incident will be treated a lot differently than we did a year ago. It will hurt a little bit more. All that being said, I hate that term throw guys under the bus, but I would like to think we are educators and we will be fair to him, yet at the same time, he has been in Iowa City long enough to know, I would hope, that what he did was not only bad in and of itself, but directly worked against the cause that our team is committed to taking the path on.

Question: So he isn’t kicked off the team?

Ferentz: No, I don’t plan on kicking him off, but it will be a painful road back.

Question: So when were Everson and Satterfield kicked off the team on the Thursday following the incident (which allegedly happened four days earlier on Saturday night/Sunday morning)?

Ferentz: They didn’t participate in anything we did all week, as of Sunday.

Question: You heard about it Sunday?

Ferentz: No, but Sunday would have been their last participation with us. It’s a matter of record I was somewhere early Monday morning (meeting with victim and father). Players don’t work on Monday’s, so our first scheduled activity was Tuesday, and I felt it was best to hold them out at that point, so their last participation was that Sunday.

Question: Had you made up mind to take them out? They were not going top play for you again?

Ferentz: The picture was fairly clear in my mind. Again, I can only focus on the responses I was given. There wasn’t enough consistency, that’s kind of where I’ll leave it.

<<<< The Regent’s second investigation is due Sept. 18. The trials, if the court cases get that far, begin Nov. 3. Ferentz is on the witness list for potential trials. >>>>>


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