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The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In some ways, it sounds like that’s the approach Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes plan to take in regards to the new world of college football recruiting in this name, image and likeness era.
In an exclusive interview with the Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen’s Chad Leistikow, Ferentz was asked what he and his program’s approach with NIL deals might look like moving forward.
Leistikow confirmed that Ferentz envisions Iowa’s plan moving forward involving evenly-distributed money via an in-the-works NIL collective going to its current roster and not to new recruits.
Naturally, players will still be able to garner any other free-market NIL deals they can, including incoming recruits.
“I think that’s going to be a major portion of our approach and there will still be a free market aspect as well. Both internally, but also that world’s going to exist outside. We’ve had a couple pretty prominent non-football athletes on our campus that I think have done very well, so I think that aspect is going to be there, but, yeah, we’re going to try to invest in our team as we move forward I think and again grow our team. That’s kind of been our way of doing things for quite a while,” Ferentz said.
The 24th-year head coach of the Hawkeyes understands the approach that has made he and his program so successful over the past two decades plus and doesn’t see much deviation from that model.
After all, it’s an approach that’s led Ferentz to becoming the winningest coach in Iowa history, resulted in a pair of Big Ten championships, a Big Ten West crown last season, 178 career wins at Iowa and 110 victories in Big Ten games.
Ferentz reflected on one of the program’s best quarterbacks during his tenure in Brad Banks to help illustrate his point.
“To give you an NFL analogy, you know, I see us still being a team that’s going to be built through recruiting and trying to raise our own guys and, really, it’s no different than 23 years ago. I mean, full disclosure, Brad Banks was not our first choice at quarterback.
“We wanted to get a high school quarterback. Unfortunately, the two guys we had ranked ahead of him both turned us down and it turns out neither of them were Brad Banks either by the way, so there’s a lesson there, but, you know, Brad, we ended up taking a junior college quarterback. My goal was to build instead of having a two-year guy.
“Our plan is still the same. To try to recruit as well as we possibly can, get players in the program and have them really develop and, hopefully, graduate from our university and also maximize their careers,” Ferentz said.
Ferentz doesn’t anticipate any immediate finality to what the future of college football looks like in this name, image and likeness era either, but he does expect he and Iowa to reveal more of their approach in the coming month or so.
“You know, quite frankly, the first six months or so, really didn’t worry an awful lot about it. Only because I don’t think anybody had a handle on it, things were really in flux. I still think it’s going to be quite a while before things settle a little bit and, you know, you really get a consistent picture, but, to that point, I think we’ve spent a lot of time talking about it, thinking about it.
“We’re trying to decide what the best approach for our program is and I think we’ll have more on that probably in the coming month here. Just about what our thoughts are, how we’re going to try to move forward and I think we have a really well-thought-out plan. We’re still finalizing some details,” Ferentz said.
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