March 23, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz thanked the five-member committee involved in the rhabdomyolysis investigation for its efforts at his opening press conference Wednesday to kick off spring practice.
“I want to thank the committee that did the research and analysis study for their efforts,” said Ferentz, who has guided the Hawkeyes to three straight bowl victories. “I know they put a lot of time into it and moved promptly with the whole thing.”
Ferentz stated that all 13 individuals involved have been cleared medically to proceed forward and each will be monitored closely during spring drills.
“My concern has always been for their well-being,” said Ferentz. “They’ve all moved along and have been cleared to proceed from the medical front. We’re happy about that, happy about getting to move forward as a football team.”
Although a definitive reason for the rhabdo “breakout” has not been identified, Ferentz and his staff have learned a great deal about it to prevent further occurrences.
“We have learned a little bit more about rhabdo,” said Ferentz. “Quite frankly, I don’t think anybody in this building (Hayden Fry Football Complex) knew much about it prior to this occurrence. We’ve learned a little bit more about that, but I still think there’s a lot to be learned from what I know.
“One thing about our sports medicine department, I think they’ll take this as an opportunity to learn more. The one thing we have learned, we won’t do that exercise again, pretty clear at this point, until we know more.”
Although he would have liked to get a precise reason behind what caused the hospitalization of 13 players in January, Ferentz was pleased to find no one was at fault.
“If your hand hurts, it’s nice to find out what exactly caused it,” said Ferentz. “It would have been really helpful… I was glad the committee was clear saying the players were not at fault and the staff was not at fault.”
Ferentz also touched on the Sports Illustrated article titled “Criminal Records in College Football”. The article was a six-month investigation that outlined police records of teams in the magazine’s top 25 poll to start the 2010 season. Iowa had 18 players who had run-ins with the law, although 15 were misdemeanors.
“Fifteen were alcohol offenses, which those of us in Iowa City know that’s an issue,” said Ferentz. “I’ll predict it’s going to be an issue 20 years from now, just like it was 20 years ago. I am not condoning it.
“I’m just saying college kids and alcohol, it’s been an issue. We know it’s an issue in this town. That’s the impetus behind the 21 rule, which I’m in support of.
“The other side of the equation, too, of those 25 teams — we were fourth in graduation success rates. We’re proud of that.”
Ferentz was unsure how the Sports Illustrated article would affect the reputation of his program.
“Leave it to Norm Parker (defensive coordinator),” said Ferentz. “Norm says it best. Nobody knows anything about the plane that lands safely. That’s not news.”