Following are official comments from University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, Director of Athletics Gary Barta, and head football coach Kirk Ferentz on the B1G Conference decision on fall sports:
Iowa president Bruce Harreld Statement:
Our first action will be to support our student-athletes and their families as they process this decision. We know that each of them has put in hundreds of hours in preparation for the upcoming season and we are heartbroken for each and every one of them.
This decision will also be felt by our coaches, staff, student body, fans, and local community. The loss stands as yet another part of our daily lives ripped away from us collectively due to the pandemic.
At the end of the day, the impact of competition during a pandemic, at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics, is simply unknown. The level of physical exertion and contact with other individuals does not occur in any other environment on our campus.
While this is a disappointing moment for our student-athletes their health is paramount and we ask our fans to continue to support our Hawkeyes.
Finally, the B1G is a premier conference because of the leading research universities that comprise its ranks and through dialogue and debate we came to a collective decision.
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta Statement:
With the announcement today from the Big Ten Conference, our immediate focus is on our student-athletes and continuing to provide care and support. They have overcome a number of obstacles associated with this virus and handled the uncertainties with undeniable resolve. We will continue to work together and move forward.
We have said from the very beginning, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is our first priority. Our athletics department is incredibly fortunate to have the expertise and guidance of our medical team and the UI Hospital and Clinics. Unfortunately, there were still too many uncertainties to move forward with our fall sports. The University of Iowa supports the extremely difficult decision made by the Big Ten Conference.
Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz:
“This is an extraordinarily disappointing day for everyone involved with Hawkeye football. While we respect the decision of the Big Ten, I want to thank University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld and Athletic Director Gary Barta for their spirited leadership as they worked to find a path for us to play this Fall. Sadly that was not the final decision. Our hope now is that our players will have the opportunity to compete in the Spring.
I want to publicly thank all the medical and support staff who worked tirelessly to keep our players and coaching staff healthy and safe during our return to campus. I also want to applaud the focus and dedication of our student-athletes as they worked out through the uncertainty of the past few months.
We will all miss waving to the kids at the end of the first quarter every Saturday this Fall, but we want them and their families to know we are supporting them from a distance.
As a program, our focus from this day forward will be to come together to find a way to play if possible this Spring. When we get the chance, we will look forward to once again swarm down the tunnel onto the Kinnick Stadium field to challenge ourselves against the best programs in the country.”