On The Side: Coach Ferentz Addresses Allegations

The Iowa Leader spoke for the first time Friday on allegations that his program committed recruiting violations after a private investigation cleared the Hawkeyes of any infractions. Coach Ferentz takes the media to task, discusses what ended the recruitment of Nick Patton, adds his feelings on if K-State was involved, gives his opinion on Abdul Hodge's involvement and much more.

So, are you ready to name a starting quarterback?

(Laughs) I thought we were going to hold off a couple of weeks on that one.

Why did Nick stay over Sunday night into Monday morning?

Flying logistics. It's a tough place to get to. I think his route might have been through St. Louis. Whatever. It was a tough place to get to.

So he had to stay that Sunday night because his flight wasn't leaving until Monday?

Yeah. And as you know, they've got a 48-hour rule set. We brought him in Saturday morning. I think Jeff Byers came in on Friday. I believe that he was the only prospect that weekend that came on Friday.

In hindsight, shouldn't your assistant coach who saw Nick and the young women in the lobby of the hotel said something to you prior to March whatever?

I'm not sure what that what have changed or what that would have done, quite frankly. The issue that you're getting into here is...the only way I know of to curtail that type of thing would be to do bed checks, those kinds of things. And that's going to be a discussion down the road here. I'm not doing the bed checks, but yeah, that would help.

How did the recruitment of Nick Patton end? Was it mutual? Was it your guys' decision? How did it go?

It's probably fair to say that we cooled off after the official visit. It was just a matter of choice on our end. One current trend right now in recruiting is that more and more prospects, at least for us, are coming during the season. The tough part about that is you never really have a thorough meeting or an in-depth meeting with the prospect. We're not allowed to do that until December. That's one of the downsides.

All that being said, I'm not sure that anything would have changed. We felt good about Nick, and we still feel good about Nick. We just didn't think that he was a great fit for us.

Was your decision (to stop recruiting him) football related or more non-football related?

Nah, it was just a general feeling. Again, he was highly recruited. He had many options. That's just the conclusion we came up with at the end of the visit.

You summarized your feelings about the media (covering this story) at the podium. Can you go into that a little bit more?

Again, when you get to the core of the issue here, you have a young man who made a statement. And if it was a court of law, you maybe could argue that they were maybe leading the witness, the reporters. You have a reporter involved. I'm not quite sure if he had an agenda or this was his day in the sun. I don't know what the motives would have been for the article. Maybe it was as simple as this is a national issue right now. Maybe he was trying to dig up a story to fit that mode.

But the bottom line is that this whole thing got started when an insinuation was made that we perhaps arranged for a meeting; someone in our program made that directive. That's totally ludicrous. That's a little bit of an insult to our program.

Did you get mad when you heard that insinuation?

I think that's fair to say.

I think he was the only or one of the only recruits that weekend that didn't bring a parent along. Did that not throw up any...I mean 48 hours for an 18-year-old kid in a hotel room?

That's a problem in recruiting. That weekend, that might be true. I think it is. I'd have to go back and look at the list. That isn't true because Jeff Byers was here by himself.

I think (Byers) had some family down from Dubuque.

They were down for the game, but then they left afterwards.

That's just a reality of recruiting. That's one of the difficulties that we have because we typically recruit outside of the driving distance. We strongly encourage parents to come, but it's not always realistic. Any time we get one of the parents to come, it's a great thing. It's just common sense.

Is that one of the areas you're going to review when you put the new guidelines into place?

Well, there's not much we can do. We've done all that we can to encourage parents or guardians to accompany a prospect, but it's not always possible. Sometimes, it's just a matter of money. Maybe the NCAA can address that. I think there is some talk of that happening. I think that would be a very positive move.

Would you say that half the recruits you bring on campus bring parents or guardians?

It's 50-50, 40-60. I'm not sure which way the arrow would tilt. It varies year to year. But We have more parents coming now than we did in the past. That's something that we've really been proactive with trying to encourage parents to come.

What's Abdul's feelings right now?

I have not talked to him on this issue other than the first day that it was reported. We'll have ample opprtunity to revisit. I felt like it was probably best that I stay out of this thing until Mr Marek had a chance to visit with Abdul and all parties involved. It has not been a topic in our office.

Abdul said that as soon as this happened that he wants to talk but he'd wait until the investigation is over. Will you address that?

I'll give him an opportunity down the road if that's what he chooses to do.

Down the road after practice today or down the road...?

No. Not today. A longer road than that one. Nice try.

If he wants that opportunity, I'd be more than happy to give it to him. As you might well imagine right now, I think there's been a media frenzy on this whole thing. I'm really not interested in having him walk in in the middle of this thing, unless that's his choosing.

But it might be a way to get it over with, too. Right?

It is over from my vantage point. As I said earlier, Abdul has been a model student, a model citizen and team member. I don't know what else he can do.

So, he doesn't face any discipline with the team?

As Fred (Mims) said, to our knowledge, he hasn't violated any rules.

Do you think that reporter was just calling kids to find out if there was anything related to Colorado or maybe he knew something (i.e. he was tipped off)?

I can't answer that other than that I would say maybe it's that or maybe he had an agenda. I don't know. I don't know why he would have an agenda. I've never met the man. I've talked to him once in the phone. I was underwhelmed, by the way. (laugther)

Again, read the transcript (of the interview with Patton) of what he based his story on. To me, he had a story in mind that he wanted to write, and he tried to justify it. That's how I view it. But that's one man's opinion.

Have you talked to (Kansas State) Coach (Bill) Snyder?

Oh yeah; several times, especially, obviously, when the coals were hot. And Bill has been tremendous. We have great respect for him. I think it's mutual. He's been tremendous throughout this whole process.

Any feelings that K-State (was involved in promoting the story to the newspaper)?

No. I have no reason to think that anybody...My guess is that this is somebody trying to grab onto a national topic. I think the whole thing is ludicrous and unfortunate. I mean look at all of the people's time that has been involved, yours included to cover this. I realize that we don't have a lot of hard news. That's one of the great things about living in Iowa. (laughter) But there's a flip side to it also. I tell recruits it's great because we don't have much.

Is there a way to protect yourself from these things? This is the third one that's gotten you bad publicity in the last two years.

What was the other one?

Tony Temple.

Tony Temple. That doesn't even...That's not even worth addressing.

What was the other one?

Iwebema.

Well, that's a different story, too. (laughter)

I'm just saying that that's three newspaper reports that reflect badly on your program. People get a perception, and it's unfair.

None of us have ever seen Tony Temple. To my knowledge, none of us ever met Tony Temple. That's a none issue.

Kenny's situation was a totally different story.

I guess the thing that I'm concerned about with this whole thing...Again, you get back to the two parties involved that ignited this story. And I go back to the Ryan Loftin situation. Basically, a person or people can make a claim. My feeling is that we've been presumed guilty throughout this whole process; not unlike the situation five years ago (with Loftin).

All I would ask is that when it's all said and one, let's maybe reflect upon the credibility of the people involved. And I'm talking about both sides of the fence. And then I encourage people to make their own decisions.

Does stuff like this really sour you on recruiting some days?

No. I think there are a lot of unhealthy things that take place in recruiting; the glorification. But that's just the society we're living in. So, we're just all going to have to deal with that. It's not unlike the (NFL) Draft. There's a great fasination right now. The public can't get enough about the recruiting. They can't get enough about the college draft. The difference is that you're looking at two different scenarios; older people versus younger people. That's not going to go away.

Again, I keep going back to the transcipt of the prospect in question, and I really think that there's a lot of lack of responsibility by the person that chose to write a story. When I read that transcript, that's a pretty weak story. I'm maybe further amazed that so many people jumped on it as a story. That really...You know, that's amazing to me.


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