A three-star Iowa recruit decommitted from the program on Monday in the wake of racial discrimination allegations and the threat of a $20 million lawsuit from several former Black players.
Cornerback Jordan Oladokun, a three-star recruit out of Tampa, Florida, committed to the Hawkeyes in April, and then recommitted to them in June after briefly decommitting. Oladokun announced on social media on Monday that he has once again decommitted, this time citing the allegations against longtime coach Kirk Ferentz and his program — something that has clouded the team for months.
“Right now we’re going through one of the hardest things in this world and that’s racism,” he wrote, in part. “I feel like I wouldn’t be doing my part if [I] stood around and stayed pretending like these issues are not occurring.”
Oladokun cites $20 million demand
Eight former Black Iowa football players sent a letter to the school earlier this month demanding $20 million in compensation and that Ferentz; his son and offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz; and athletic director Gary Barta all lose their jobs, among other things.
Dozens of former Iowa players have spoken out in recent months about their experiences playing under Ferentz — the longest-tenured coach in college football. Many said they felt they were treated unfairly because of their skin color, and several complaints were directed specifically toward longtime strength coach Chris Doyle. Doyle later reached a separation agreement with the school.
Ferentz admitted that he had a “blind spot” in his program earlier this summer, and pledged to help improve the culture within the program.
The school responded to the players and rejected their demands.
“I am disappointed to receive this type of demand letter,” Ferentz said in a statement on Sunday night. “Due to the threat of litigation, I am not able to address the specific comments made by our former players. As you know, this past summer we made adjustments to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our student-athletes. These changes include both policies and rules, as well as an expanded leadership council of current players and a new advisory committee comprised of former players.
“I am deeply committed to helping everyone who joins the Hawkeye Football program reach their full potential on and off the field. My focus is now on our current players who are preparing for our first game this Saturday.”
Oladokun specifically cited the threat of a lawsuit from the former players when making his decision to decommit, saying it made him uncomfortable.
“It made me worry a little bit as a recruit that someone, if there’s a $20 million lawsuit going out, in my opinion some of the things have to be true or some of the things are just getting a little bit sketchy,” Oladokun said, via ESPN. “I don’t really think I should say what I asked [the Iowa coaches], but some of the things weren't being answered. I was trying to figure out what was going on and they just weren’t getting answered, so I felt like it was time for me to do what I needed to do and decommit.”
Oladokun said he had spoken with other recruits about the allegations against the program, but that they were OK staying committed despite the letter from the former athletes.
“I was like, ‘Hey, how are you feeling about this whole situation and some of them were, I’m not going to say they were feeling like it was OK, but there wasn’t really a big deal about it, they were just going to see,” Oladokun said, via ESPN. “With signing day coming up with me, I didn’t want to wait too long and say things are true, then I’m stuck or we’re all stuck. It’s about two months away from signing day, so I can get everything right and find my new home.”
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