Kirk Ferentz: ‘Disappointment’s the word’ after Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports

The Iowa football head coach said he was disappointed for his student-athletes and fans after the Big Ten decided to postpone fall sports.

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Tate Hilyard

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz speaks at a press conference July 30. Ferentz discussed the findings of the external review of the Iowa football program.

Isaac Goffin, Asst. Sports Editor

Sorry was the word from reporters. Disappointment was the word from Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz at a press conference shortly after the Big Ten’s decision to delay fall sports.

“Disappointment’s the best word certainly but it’s emotional,” Ferentz said. “It’s hard. I know for months and I’ve heard from fans you’re getting coffee or whatever they hope there’s a season — that’s been conveyed. Football is a big part of our life, especially in the Midwest, but it doesn’t mean to anybody more than the players, and the coaches are right there with it.”

Last Wednesday, the Big Ten announced its 10-game conference-only schedule, and Iowa was set to take the field for its season opener Sept. 5 at Kinnick Stadium against Maryland.

But things began to look ominous on Saturday when the Mid-American Conference postponed fall sports. Around the same time, the Big Ten announced that football players could practice in helmets only.

Reports began to swirl around Sunday night that the Big Ten was going to make this season in the coming days, which ended up happening. College football players, led by star Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, started the hashtag “WeWantToPlay” on Twitter. Iowa players took apart in the last-ditch attempt to save the fall season for the Big Ten. On Tuesday, the Big Ten announced that it would postpone all fall sports for the 2020 season.

“The majority of our guys have all along wanted to play,” Ferentz said. “That’s what they’ve been working for. They’ve demonstrated that more than they’ve been talking about it, or tweeting about, or going on social media.”

Iowa stopped practicing on Monday. That was because Ferentz said he guessed that they wouldn’t play until at least late September, so he stopped practices to reduce injury risk.

Ferentz said that Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta and Iowa President Bruce Harreld were doing all they could to push forward for a fall season.

In a statement Barta said that the UI supports the decision made by the Big Ten. Harreld also had statement.

“Our first action will be to support our student-athletes and their families as they process this decision. We know that each of them has put in hundreds of hours in preparation for the upcoming season and we are heartbroken for each and every one of them,” Harreld said in a release.

The football season could take place in Spring 2021. Ferentz has been on Zoom calls with Big Ten coaches and athletic directors leading up to today, but there was no mention of how the spring season would look.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of time to recalibrate and just try to talk about it in an intelligent fashion,” Ferentz said. “To your point, when we look at the spring, we have to look towards the entire calendar year for 2021.”

Even with doom and gloom across the conference, but Ferentz is looking toward brighter days.

“[College sports] may look different after this time period, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Ferentz said. “There’s going to be some impact that way, but college sports will come back, they’ll return. At some point we’ll be up and running again. I hope, especially for the sake of our student athletes, I hope it’s sooner than later.”

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