Setting the Record Straight

Iowa officials conducted a press conference Friday at the Memorial Union to discuss results of an investigation into recruiting violations allegations. President David Skorton, the state of Iowa Deputy Attorney General Douglas R. Marek - who investigated the allegations, Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz, Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby and Associate Athletic Director Fred Mims all were available for comments and questions.

Iowa Deputy Attorney General Douglas R. Marek Presentation of Results of Investigation:

I completed the investigation late (Thursday, April 1). The report summarizes the activities of Nick Patton during his recruiting visit to the University of Iowa last September.

The investigation found that Mr. Patton met a young woman in a chance encounter at a downtown (Iowa City) nightclub. Patton and the young woman found themselves mutually attractive. They enjoyed each other's company. They both considered that initial meeting to be very romantic; exciting.

They both wanted to further the relationship. The meeting continued in the home of Mr. Patton's student host (Abdul Hodge). Later during the weekend, they had a sexual relationship at the hotel in the room provided by the university for Mr. Patton during his recruiting visit.

Their relationship continued for a period of about two months after recruiting visit. It included trips by the young woman to visit Mr. Patton in Kansas.

Based on my analysis of the facts that I found in the investigation, I've concluded that neither the University of Iowa nor it's football program arranged for a sexual encounter between Mr. Patton and the young woman.

I found that there was no basis for the allegations raised about four weeks ago in the stories run by the Manhattan Mercury.

I've provided the written report today to Dr. Skorton because I understand that he intends to futher his analysis of the policies and procedures in place at the university. It's not my role to make specific recommendations. I've not done so. I don't have the expertise or the ability to do that. But I will continue to make myself available to the president and his administration.

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Comments from President David Skorton:

I have asked Athletic Director (Bob) Bowlsby and his athletic staff and the coaches to begin to work on a formal written guidelines for the recruitment process, an update in the present guidelines and a change in the way that they're communicated. Specifically what I've asked them to do is that the department itself should develop over-arching guidelines related to recruitment procedures for intercollegiate athletics across the department and then each of the individual head coaches for all of the sports should develop details of their own individual recruiting procedures going beyond the over-arching procedures for the department.

I further ask that these be given back to me within 60 days. I further ask that the guidelines be accompanied by information about how they would be communicated to the staff, to the student hosts and to the recruits themselves. Finally I ask that instructions indicate how the enforcement mechanisms would be used to be sure that the guidelines are actually being implemented. Athletic Director Bowlsby has already accepted and is already working to fulfill this further charge.

I do want to comment also in a positive way that during the investigation Athletic Director Bowlsby and Associate Director (Fred) Mims and Head Coach (Kirk) Ferentz and their staffs have already begun to work on the guidelines specifically for this one program.

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Q&A Session:

Now that you've been cleared of wrongdoing, who was it that made this allegations. Was it Mr. Patton or maybe the newspaper that did it?

Marek: The report indicates that Mr. Patton believes in what he remembers of the incident. The way that he explained it to me in his interview is probably very similar to the way that he explained it to the press in various opportunities.

He's an 18-year-old high school senior. He's on a recruiting visit, one of the most exciting experiences of his whole life. When reflecting back on it, in light of the news that has arisen from other athletic programs, I think he saw it as perhaps a coincidence. But when asked by the reporter, he said it could have been that way.

He also told me that the Iowa trip compared to the other recruiting trips that he made was a lot of fun; it was more exciting; it was a bigger deal. And again, reflecting back on it with the maturity that he had, I think that's how he saw it. Whether the reporters accurately conveyed that in the story is not for me to say.

President Skorton, I was wondering if you could comment on how many university policies were borken during this incident or athletic department policies in terms of taking someone off campus or taking them to a bar after 10?

Skorton: Mr. Bowlsby, do you want to comment on that and then I can add some words.

Bowlsby: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the question.

Skorton: Tom Owen from the Gazette asked whether we would like to comment on the fact that in Mr. Owen's opinion some university rules may have been broken. He asked about taking someone under the age of 19 to a bar and anything else that you'd like to comment on.

Bowlsby: As I've stated publicly before, the policies that were in place had not been updated recently. There were some elements that were not as clearly annunciated as they should have been.

In large measure, this has been a good exercise for us. As Fred Mims has mentioned previously, we had actually begun the process to review all of our recruiting policies, and paid and unpaid visit policies, prior to the time that this came up.

We clearly can do a better job of communicating policies and providing oversight for the policies and the various mechanisms. I don't say that to mean that there were grevious abuses of policy in the past. I don't believe that was the case. There are some ways that we can do it better. We've identified those and are in the process of putting in place the things that we think will make them better.

Coach, can you maybe discuss how this has affected your program? Is it turmoil for spring practice or are things as usual?

Kirk Ferentz: I don't think turmoil is an accurate word at all. It's been a distraction, probably more so to me and some of the individuals involved. I think, quite frankly, that it's been very overblown. It's been very unfair and disappointing some of the coverage that I've witnessed. I'm not at all surprised after witnessing (Ryan) Loftin spectacle a few years ago. It's been very disappointing. But I'm not naive. It's part of the deal.

The most unfortunate part here is maybe the way that Abdul Hodge has been portrayed. Abdul is not only an outstanding player, but he's also been a model citizen of our university. He carries a 2.85 (GPA) in communications. The way that he's been portrayed over the last few weeks has been as hurtful as anything. That part has probably been the most disappointing to me.

In your view, did Abdul break any of the guidelines?

I don't know that. The only thing that I've conferred with him about is the initial charge when it was brought up March 6 or whatever that day might have been. After that, I have not talked to him at all. I thought it was a university procedure. After I read the report, we'll go back and go through all of those items and do from there.

If (Hodge) did in fact call this women and in a sense arrange a meeting between the two...?

KF: First of all, I'm confident that he didn't.

I think that the report indicates that he did make a phone call. If that were true, would that be something that he might face discipline for?

KF: I'd have to read the report. I have not done that yet.

Do you think that your players have been briefed well enough to this point?

KF: We've done a fairly decent job but I'd probably parallel this to the last couple of years where we've stepped up our educational process with alcohol, substance abuse and also with sexual conduct. I said this after watching the press conference at Colorado, nationally we're all going to be going down that road. As President Skorton has already said, we're going to step up our procedures.

What would specifically like to see put into the guidelines so there is no gray area?

KF: I don't think we're looking at any radical change in terms of policy. The key thing, again, is education of our student athletes. We've already had some discussion on what we can do to be more proactive and better educate our players in terms of what's expected during that process.

Any thoughts on what recruits might have to do coming on campus?

That will certainly be part of the process; communicating to the recruits and their parents or guardians of what the expectations will be once they arrive in campus.

KF: Let me go back, too. I don't think there was ever any violation of NCAA policy during this whole thing. I don't think that was ever a question.

Do you have thoughts on why a student would make the comments that he made?

KF: Yeah sure. Do you know adolescents at all? Have you ever talked to them or deal with them? A lot of things happen during the recruiting process; the over-glorification of recruiting; the amount of attention, the time that's spent on it. It's probably not the most healthy thing. I'm talking as a parent here as well as a coach. We observe that every year. There's some inherent problems that come with all of this.

The report indicates that one of your coaches met the couple during the early morning hours of Sunday (actually Monday) morning. Was that ever reported to you?

KF: I knew that he did meet the prospect.

So, the coach told you?

KF: After we began this investigation, yeah.

But up until the investigation, he didn't say anything to you?

KF: That's correct.

Bob, has your athletic director brethen been keeping a close eye on this case?

BB: Let me say that more than anything else, integrity comes from the people that you employ. And at the University of Iowa, we've been more than four decades without a major violation of NCAA rules.

We are constantly watched as a result of that just because people around the country sometimes wonder how we've had as much success as we've had with running the kind of program that has the kind of integrity we have.

I am very proud of Kirk Ferentz as our football coach and of his staff and of our student-athletes. I don't spend any time up at night worrying what they're up to because I know what kind of people they are. And I have believed from the beginning of this investigation that the allegations were groundless and that we would ultimately be exonerated.

So, yeah, probably probable are watching us because President Skorton took exactly the right action when presented with the kind of allegations that he had.

Coach, should there be a penalty against false accusations somebody makes? I'm not saying that Nick falls into the category.

KF: I'm not trying to point a finger at any individual here. In fact, if I were going to point one, I'd probably point one at an adult that was involved rather than a young person.

That being said, I gave you a commentary on the recruiting process. Sometimes, that influences adults as much as it does young people.

I'm really not worried about pointing fingers at this point.


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