Everything Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz had to say about the Hawkeyes’ SWARM collective

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Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz was on hand for the news conference unveiling SWARM, the newest collective supporting Hawkeye student-athletes.

Naturally, he had plenty of nice things to say about SWARM CEO Brad Heinrichs, executive vice president and COO Scott Brickman and vice president of events and engagement Jayne Oswald.

Here’s everything that Ferentz had to say about how it will impact his football program going forward on the day SWARM was officially unveiled.

Keeping The Swarm Collective equal money for all student-athletes

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the big goals for The Swarm Collective was to make sure that football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players would all earn an equal share. That’s now the case where student-athletes in those sports are all able to earn the same monthly stipend if they participate in events that raise money for or serve local charities or non-profits.

“That is our vision in football at least is try to find a way to reward all of our scholarship players and then also formulate a plan for walk-ons, too. We want to be inclusive. That’s kind of been the strength of our team historically is everybody’s got a role.

“I just think with our program, our sport—it’s unique to basketball probably—but, for us, it’s more of a team-wide initiative and I think that’s our vision. I say ours, Brad and mine, I think both share the same vision on that. That’s our goal, ultimately, to see how that all settles out,” Ferentz said.

Importance of establishing the SWARM collective for Iowa

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

While the SWARM collective is not officially tied to the University of Iowa, Ferentz understands the importance of getting this NIL collective put together for the Hawkeyes’ future.

“I think critical. You know, I’ll regurgitate what Brad, a point he made. It’s really not a matter of do we like this or did we want this? It’s just a matter of that’s a reality of college football, college athletics. Just like it’s a reality that USC and UCLA are going to be in the Big Ten in two years, so whether you like that, whatever your opinion may be, the bigger picture is it’s going to be.

“It’s just part of the times that we’re navigating through right now. So, to have someone step forward like Brad has and to have Scott and Jayne join, I think we’re very, very fortunate. Brad is just, as you’ve probably figured out, he’s a pretty motivated individual. He seems to do really well at whatever he chooses to focus on, so it’s been fun to get to know him a little bit better,” Ferentz said.

Focusing NIL on players already on the roster

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

One of Ferentz’s hopes for whatever collective got put together to support Iowa’s student-athletes was that it would be designed for players already on the roster. As in, not for those committing to the Hawkeyes or signing with Iowa. Or, to lure players to transfer in.

That’s really the only stipulation for NIL as it currently stands anyways, to prevent the enticement of prospective players. Still, it’s no secret that rule isn’t being taken seriously everywhere.

It is at Iowa.

“As an observer, some of the, and I think a couple observations, not that I’m an expert on NIL…I think there’s been a lot of exaggeration out there, a lot of hyperbole. I think that’s one thing that’s consistent. The fact of the matter is, I’m sure some players have been compensated for moving, changing schools, etcetera. There’s risk and reward to that. It’s like coaching in the NFL, not all first-round draft picks pan out. In fact, numbers would show you that’s not the reality and it’s an alarming number that don’t pan out quite frankly.

“I think there’s some carryover there and I think our preference, our vision is to reward the players in our program. Hopefully, young players, prospects if you will, look and see that players at Iowa do get rewarded and, if you are a productive player, it’s going to be a good opportunity for you. I think ultimately we’re still hoping to recruit players that really want to play college football and not just worry about the bottom line, so hopefully there’s a good balance there,” Ferentz said.

SWARM's relationship with charitable organizations

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

In order for student-athletes to receive their monthly stipend, they must participate in events that raise money for or serve local charities or non-profits. It’s something that’s near and dear to Ferentz’s heart.

“I think it resonates well. I think it’s a great reminder doing anything that’s along the community service lines. I tell our guys all the time, ‘We all choose to do this and then the bigger point is, we’re all lucky enough, fortunate enough to do this and not everybody is.’ The guys I get to work with every day are a really select group. Any time you go out and do things for other people, that’s kind of a good reminder that we are pretty fortunate. Anybody involved in this operation,” Ferentz said.

The SWARM being good for walk-ons

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Inclusion of the football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball’s walk-on players in SWARM was something that was important to Ferentz.

“I think so, yeah, there’s no question. Well, we can’t, but this gives us a way to at least reward them for their contributions. I tell all of our guys you wouldn’t be invited to be on the team if you weren’t important, and we try to coach with that attitude and certainly want to treat the players the same way. That’s one positive step years ago the NCAA allowed walk-ons to finally eat like everybody else on the team. That was a huge step, but I think this will be another step further,” Ferentz said.

Reaction of the players

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

Ferentz didn’t want to speak for his players directly, but he expects the response will be positive from his team and the others on campus.

“I think the response will be tremendous. I don’t want to try to predict things, but Brad is going to meet with the team later on today I believe. At least, those who want to show up. I can’t imagine they won’t be excited about it. To me, it’s a win-win situation. They have a chance to get compensation but also they’re giving back to the community. To me, Brad’s focus is on good causes, charitable non-profits, so I just think it’s a win-win for our entire state quite frankly,” Ferentz said.

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