Longtime Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says college football ‘in a really precarious place,’ requires oversight from one stabilizing voice

INDIANAPOLIS — Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, the nation’s longest-serving FBS head coach, said Tuesday at the Big Ten media days that he is more concerned than ever about the path college football is taking right now.

“I think we’re in a really precarious place,” said Ferentz, who is entering his 24th season as Iowa head coach. “There’s just a lot of ambiguity, a lot of uncertainty. We really don’t have a fixed structure. We don’t have basic operating rules. I don’t think anyone can really explain the NIL at this time [name, image and likeness policy] in detail what you can and cannot do. I know you can’t attract recruits, but it sure seems like that’s happening a bit. There’s just a lack of general clarity.”

Ferentz, who turns 67 on Aug. 1, said college football desperately needs a stabilizing voice to oversee the sport.

“We need an intervention, and then my bigger concern is: who’s going to do it, right? Where will it come from? Where is that leadership going to come from because we’re all busy?” said Ferentz, who joked that his old Wisconsin counterpart, Barry Alvarez, was available.

Pat Fitzgerald, entering his 17th season as Northwestern coach, echoed Ferentz’s feelings on everything from the transfer portal to NIL issues to the recruiting calendar, which has become endless.

“The game on the field has never been better,” Fitzgerald said. “Once you leave the field, it’s never been so chaotic.”

Ferentz signed a contract extension this offseason and will be making $7 million annually. He said the best part of coaching for him is the players and that’s what keeps him coming back.

When asked if his concerns about the direction of the sport had upset him about his coaching future, Ferentz said: “Yes and no. I mean, there are moments when it’s like, ‘What the hell?’”

Ferentz said frustration is a common theme among his coaching brothers, citing the verbal dust-up between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher in May as evidence.

“You have two head coaches, celebrity head coaches and both good coaches who fight in public and you know, that doesn’t look good for our sport,” Ferentz said. “It’s not looking good for the conference and you’re like, ‘So what are we doing here? How come we can’t fix all this?’”

Ferentz has guided the Hawkeyes to 10 wins of the season in two of the last three years. He said his philosophy has always been that “as long as the good outweighs the bad,” he’ll keep training.

When asked if the sport was already there, Ferentz said: “No, but I think we’re getting closer.”

Ferentz supports players making money on their name, image and likeness once they come onto campus, but said the idea of ​​schools bidding for players who drop out of high school is combined with proposed legislation making sure players can switch as many times as they want isn’t good for anyone.

“So you go into the portal, you come back to my office and you’re like, ‘I have a deal for, say, $250,000,'” Ferentz said. “How do I know this is correct? We can’t know. Is that what his advisor tells him?

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34299104/long-iowa-coach-kirk-ferentz-says-college-football-really-precarious-place-requires-oversight-one-stabilizing-voice Longtime Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says college football ‘in a really precarious place,’ requires oversight from one stabilizing voice

Emma Bowman

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