State reaches $4M settlement in Iowa discrimination suit

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The state of Iowa has reached agreement on a $4 million settlement with 12 former Black football players who accused Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz of racial discrimination, the Des Moines Register reported Monday.

Further, auditor Rob Sand, one of three on the Iowa Department of Management’s State Appeal Board, wants Iowa athletic director Gary Barta ousted before approving taxpayer funds to be doled out in the settlement.

Under the settlement, the school would pay out $2.175 million and the state would pick up the rest.

“Enough is enough. Clear personal accountability is necessary. I will not support taxpayers funding this settlement unless Gary Barta is no longer employed at the university and forfeits any severance or similar pay,” Sand said in a statement to the other board members.

Sand cited three other discrimination lawsuits under Barta’s watch before this one as reasons to oust Barta.

The 12 former Iowa football players signed the settlement on Feb. 23, according to the Register. They will receive roughly $184,201.05 per player. Thirteen players originally filed the lawsuit in November 2020, claiming a culture of mistreatment against Black players.

An outside law firm, Husch Blackwell, conducted an investigation and concluded that “the program’s rules perpetuated racial or cultural biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity.”

The accusations led to the dismissal of strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.

The lawsuit originally sought $20 million in damages in addition to the firing of Ferentz, his son, Brian, Iowa’s offensive coordinator, and Barta.

–Field Level Media

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