Former Iowa running back Akrum Wadley ripped the Hawkeyes on Monday, saying he was so mistreated by some coaches he now regrets playing there.
Wadley’s statement, posted on Facebook, mentioned coach Kirk Ferentz, his son, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, director of player development Broderick Binns and Chris Doyle, the former strength and conditioning coach for the Hawkeyes.
Wadley said Brian Ferentz on several occasions jokingly asked him if he was on his way to commit a robbery when Wadley was leaving with a team-issued wool hat that covered his face in the cold. He said his weight was also a constant issue and was used to belittle him.
“I was threatened by Kirk Ferentz that my meal card would be taken away and I will not eat nor be able to sit with my teammates during eating sessions,” Wadley wrote. “He did follow through on his threat.”
Wadley, a New Jersey native, piled up a combined 3,633 yards rushing and receiving and scored 35 touchdowns for Iowa from 2014-17.
“I felt like playing for Iowa Football was a living nightmare,” he wrote. “I never drank alcohol prior to going to college but based on my experience there it became the only thing I could rely on, it seems and was what I did to cope.”
More than three dozen former Iowa players, most of them Black, have accused Iowa of racial bias within the program and many singled out Doyle, who left the university and will be paid $1.1 million. Iowa hired a law firm to conduct a review of the football program. Kirk Ferentz has held news conferences and promised to listen to his former players; Binns, a former player, has been named interim director of diversity and inclusion for the athletic department.
A statement issued Monday to the Des Moines Register said Kirk Ferentz would not comment publicly.
“Coach Ferentz believes that meaningful change takes time and a thorough independent examination is already underway,” the statement said. “He remains committed to creating a more inclusive culture for all of his players now and in the years to come.”
Ferentz is Iowa’s career wins leader and enters his 22nd season as the longest-tenured coach of a Bowl Subdivision program. Ferentz earned $5.5 million last year after bonuses, and his contract runs through the 2025 season.