Former Iowa running back Wadley alleges mistreatment by coaches in social media post

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 3:30 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Another former University of Iowa football star has made allegations of mistreatment against the program’s head and assistant coaches, according to a social media post.

Akrum Wadley, a running back who became the school’s fifth all-time leading rusher by yards between 2014 and 2017, provided a statement about his time at Iowa to the Facebook page for Robert T. Green. In the statement, he described verbal and physical mistreatment caused by head coach Kirk Ferentz, offensive line and, later, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, and former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Wadley said that he believed at least some of the treatment he received was because he is Black.

Green goes by The Player’s Rep online and operates Virginia-based Pre-Postgame, Inc., a sports business consulting, management, and services firm. He has worked with other former Iowa players to help them share their experiences with the Iowa program, according to ESPN.

Wadley said that Brian Ferentz, the head coach’s son, asked him “are you going to rob a gas station?” or a variation on multiple occasions while he wore a team-provided stocking hat while running between the field and football facility during practice. Wadley said he ignored those statements in order to avoid an unfair punishment, which he alleged would be handed down from Kirk Ferentz, via an assistant coach, with little or no explanation over the course of his career at Iowa.

Describing playing for Iowa as a “living nightmare,” Wadley said that Kirk Ferentz threatened to take away his meal plan after he was having trouble making weight for the team. He said that Black players were targeted much more harshly for this requirement than others.

There were other allegations of verbal abuse made by Wadley in the post, and he said he feared to speak to anybody about the incidents, including family, due to the fear of retribution from the coaching staff.

“My time at Iowa has done things to me that I am not going to discuss because knowing how these people treated me and other black athletes. I am done giving them power over me,” Wadley wrote on Green’s Facebook page. “But if I could do it all over again. I wish I never played for the Iowa Hawkeyes. I would not encourage any future athletes or parents to send your kid to go play for the Iowa Hawkeyes under that current coaching staff.”

Wadley described positive experiences during his time at Iowa outside of the football program, but hoped that players speaking out will help prevent others from being exposed to the kind of mistreatment he experienced.

Multiple former Hawkeye football players made statements and posts on social media in early June about mistreatment at the hands of the Iowa football program, which many claimed were racially-motivated, primarily targeted at Doyle. He left the program on June 15 after reaching a separation agreement with the university. Wadley’s allegations are some of the first to be specific toward the head coach’s son.

Kirk Ferentz has since made statements and held a press conference acknowledging some of the past problems, saying the program is open to listening to players and implementing changes going forward.

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