IOWA CITY – Lessons learned during the Iowa football season are not confined to those learned by Hawkeye players.
As Iowa works toward Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. home game against third-ranked Ohio State, first-year Hawkeye offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is also learning from what coach Kirk Ferentz labeled “inappropriate’’ behavior that took place in the press box during Saturday’s game against Minnesota.
Brian Ferentz was scheduled to meet with director of athletics Gary Barta on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the Iowa assistant’s profanity-filled tirade as he made his way from the Iowa coaches’ booth to the press box elevator at halftime.
Irritated by a decision made by the video replay official that James Butler had fumbled at the end of a 19-yard reception late in the second quarter – overturning a call made on the field – Brian Ferentz loudly expressed his opinion.
His voice cut through normal halftime chatter in a hallway leading from the coaches’ booth – which is located in a room next to the room where the replay official works – to an elevator which takes coaches to field level.
The Iowa assistant moved quickly, but offered a Whitman’s sampler of profanity as he made his way to the elevator, located about 30 yards down a hallway.
“You know that isn’t reviewable,’’ Brian Ferentz barked at one point, emotion-filled words that separated a heaping helping of vulgarity.
In addition to game operations personnel, coaches from both teams and the media, the upper level of the press box at Kinnick Stadium includes several suites where guests of university officials are seated.
All were within earshot of what transpired.
Kirk Ferentz said he has had multiple conversations about the incident with Brian Ferentz, a sixth-year Iowa assistant currently in his first year as a coordinator.
“It was really an unprofessional act by Brian and we have had discussions, as you might well imagine, several discussions about it,’’ Ferentz said. “… The bottom line is what was done up there was inappropriate and it’s got to stop. It’s not acceptable and Brian is fully aware of that.’’
Barta is involved because university policy prohibits Kirk Ferentz from being the direct supervisor of his son and the Iowa director of athletics fills that role not only in this situation, but in others like it within the athletics department.
In this case, Barta not only has the responsibility to meet with Brian Ferentz but will also file a report on the meeting with the Big Ten.
Kirk Ferentz said Barta had already had discussions with Big Ten officials about the situation and he said his staff is prepared to deal with how the conference responds.
“I think whatever everybody feels is appropriate, that’s what we’ll abide by,’’ he said.
Ferentz conceded that the situation has the potential to be a distraction at a time when Iowa is preparing for one of its toughest challenges of the season on the field, a match-up with Big Ten East Division leader Ohio State, a 7-1 team which ranks second in the nation in total offense and scoring in addition to being rated 12th nationally in defense.
But, he said the incident needed to dealt with beyond whatever transpires at the Big Ten level.
“I still coach here. I’m still the head coach. If any of our coaches acts in a way that is inappropriate – and believe me I’ve been guilty of that, too – it has to be addressed,’’ Ferentz said.
“It’s just something you can't do. It takes away from your focus on your job, first and foremost, and secondly, it’s just not professional. You can’t do it.’’