IOWA CITY, Iowa - Sunday night, Iowa running back Jewel Hampton wrote on his Facebook that he was a "former Hawkeye." Monday evening, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed.
"Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the team and plans to transfer to another school to complete his degree and finish his career. We wish him the best of success in the future," said Ferentz.
It got worse for Iowa running backs. Sophomore Adam Robinson, who led Iowa with 941 yards this season, won't be on the team for the Hawkeyes' appearance in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 in Tempe, Ariz.
The release from Iowa doesn't say if Robinson has been suspended, but says the Des Moines native "will not be part of the Hawkeye team that makes the trip to Arizona for the Insight Bowl."
Robinson missed Iowa's season finale at Minnesota after suffering two concussions within a month. Ferentz said in Monday's release that he's been medically cleared to play, but the statement makes it sound as though Robinson is currently not on the team.
"While Adam has been cleared medically, he will not be participating in the upcoming Insight Bowl game as a result of failing to comply with team expectations and policies," Ferentz said. "Adam will have the option to rejoin the team when classes resume in January."
Robinson was suspended for the first quarter of the Ohio State game because of "academic indigestion," Ferentz said.
Ferentz and Iowa athletics director Gary Barta will hold a press conference this morning at 10 in Iowa City to "answer questions," according to the release.
Rumors have rained down on Iowa football since the arrest of star wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa's career leader in receptions and receiving yardage, was arrested on six drug charges and for keeping a drug house last Tuesday.
In the wake of Johnson-Koulianos' arrest, Iowa officials have asked multiple players to undergo drug tests, according to sources.
Players are subject to drug testing several times during their college career. Iowa tests for street drugs as well as performance-enhancers, Iowa Associate Athletics Director Fred Mims said last week. An athlete automatically loses competition time with a failed drug test, Mims said.
Johnson-Koulianos immediately was suspended after his arrest. However, when asked on Friday, Barta declined to rule him out for the Insight Bowl.
"He's suspended, that's our statement and I don't have anything to add to that," Barta said.
Ferentz told Missouri media in a teleconference last Thursday that "he'll not play again here."
The football team isn't practicing this week because of finals. Players have a meeting Friday.
A couple Iowa players told The Gazette on Monday night that players have heard rumors, but haven't been told anything about the situation by the coaching staff.
As rumors built Monday, basically every sports book in Nevada took Iowa's Insight Bowl matchup with Missouri off the board around 4 p.m. Missouri (10-2) had been a 1-point favorite over the 7-5 Hawkeyes. The line moved to 1.5, 2, and in one casino, 2.5 Monday afternoon before it was taken off.
In August, Iowa had a lot of firepower lined up at running back.
Robinson led an 11-2 Iowa team in '09 with 834 yards. Hampton returned from a torn ACL and called himself Iowa's "hungriest" player. Also, Brandon Wegher was poised for take off after rushing for 641 yards and eight TDs as a true freshman in '09, breaking the freshman record of seven TDs set by Hampton in '08.
One by one, they were either injured or left the team.
Hampton, a 5-9, 210-pounder from Indianapolis, Ind., suffered a torn ACL in the summer of 2009. Then, against Arizona, he suffered a torn ACL in his other knee and missed the rest of the season. He rushed for 577 yards and scored eight touchdowns in two seasons.
In the weeks before Monday's announcement, Ferentz said Hampton was on track to return in fall '11.
Robinson, a 5-9, 205-pounder, led Iowa in rushing for the second straight season. Also, he caught 24 passes for 290 yards and a TD. He suffered a concussion against Michigan State and another against Ohio State and ended the regular season on the bench.
On Friday night, Mims told The Gazette that running back Brandon Wegher asked for and received his release to transfer out of Iowa. Wegher, who became a father in November, left the team after the second practice of fall camp and sat out the season for personal reasons. Wegher hasn't been released to Big Ten schools, but it's uncertain if that includes Nebraska, which joins the Big Ten next fall.
In response to Hampton's Sunday night Facebook post, Robinson posted "hmm.... first and for most [sic]... LIVE IT UP!" He's since deleted that post.
Iowa is down to true freshman Marcus Coker for the Insight Bowl.
Coker played in six games and made three starts. The 6-0, 230-pounder rushed for 403 yards and a TD. He rushed for 129 yards in his first start against Indiana. Against Minnesota, he had 90 yards but fumbled on a late drive in Iowa's 27-24 loss. Redshirt freshman Brad Rogers, the No. 2 fullback, also is No. 2 at running back.