Judge: Black Iowa Football Players’ Suit Can Advance

Andy Berg Headshot

A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by a group of former Black Iowa Hawkeye football players alleging a culture of discrimination can move forward. 

The 13 players who filed the lawsuit allege they were demeaned by the use of racial slurs and were forced to abandoned Black hairstyles and fashion to fit the “Iowa Way.”

The former athletes named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Darian Cooper, Maurice Fleming, Javon Foy, Andre Harris, Terrence Harris, Marcel Joly, Kevonte Martin-Manley, Aaron Mends, Jonathan Parker, Brandon Simon, Reggie Spearman, LaRon Taylor and Akrum Wadley.

Most of the allegations center around offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz and former strength coach Chris Doyle.

According to ESPN, the university paid Doyle $1.1 million in a resignation agreement last June, following complaints from former players.

An investigation by an outside law firm later found the program's rules "perpetuated racial and culture biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity" and allowed coaches to demean players without consequence.

U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose released athletic director Gary Barta and current strength coach Raimond Braithwaite as defendants. Rose also dismissed allegations that Iowa created and maintained a systemic pattern of unlawful race discrimination.

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