For Every Action, There is an Equal and Opposite Reaction. As almost everyone knows, Iowa's athletic department is currently under investigation by the federal government for potentially discriminating against female coaches, stemming from the Tracey Griesbaum firing last August. If yesterday's news is any indication, Iowa is trying to respond by simply discriminating against men just as much:
University of Iowa athletics department administrators ordered a female be hired over male candidates for an assistant track coaching job regardless of qualifications, an internal email from the head coach alleges.
Attorneys for a male coach who says he was illegally passed over portrayed the email — which the coach's attorneys received last week as part of a lawsuit against the school— as a smoking gun that will help prove his gender discrimination allegations.
"It's in writing. The administration said, 'we want a female in that position'," said Brooke Timmer, an attorney for Mike Scott, now an assistant at Missouri State.
The email in question, disclosed by the University of Iowa in discovery on August 25, was sent by head track coach Layne Anderson after the initial pool of applicants for an open assistant coaching position did not include a qualified female candidate:
"It is once again largely driven by the mandate from the administration to hire a female (qualified to them being optional -- but not to myself or Wiz)," Anderson wrote, referring to program director Larry Wieczorek.
Anderson noted that one "ideal" male candidate had already been rejected by the administration.
The job description was changed to recruit a coach with expertise in distance running because "a greater number of qualified females" would exist, he wrote.
The email was sent in June 2013, more than a year before the Griesbaum controversy thrust gender discrimination issues to the forefront of Gary Barta's administration; in other words, it's not that policy changed because of the criticism Barta and his staff drew from the field hockey controversy. It is, however, potentially the end for an administration already on the ropes and facing the possibility of a less-than-enthusiastic supporter in the president's mansion. After all, when AP reporters can post things like this, your credibility is gone:
U of I is being sued by a male former coach for discrimination and being investigated by the U.S. DOE for its handling of female coaches.— LukeMeredith (@LukeMeredithAP) August 31, 2015
We'd Finally Have Use for the Boat House. Illinois abruptly fired Tim Beckman on Friday and installed offensive coordinator Bill Cubit as interim coach. Of course, the names of potential coaches are flying around now, with the usual suspects -- Bo Pelini, Jim Tressel, Greg Schiano, Lane Kiffin -- theoretically in play. The early favorite is Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck, who followed up a difficult first season at WMU by going 8-5 and making a bowl game. He's only 34 years old, he's enthusiastic, and he does stuff like this:
Yes, it's hilarious.
But embedded in Teddy Greenstein's report on the Illinois situation is an interesting tidbit of information:
Up-and-comer P.J. Fleck should be an Illinois target once a new athletic director is chosen. Fleck is a native of west suburban Sugar Grove who excelled as a receiver at NIU and is doing the same as Western Michigan's head coach.
But word is Fleck would favor a fresh start at Iowa if the school parts ways with Kirk Ferentz.
I'm fairly certain that a poll of coaches would find that Fleck isn't alone. Iowa's facilities are ridiculously better, tradition is more established, and importance in the area is significantly higher than Illinois. The "sleeping giant" theory of Illini football has repeatedly been proven false. But if Kirk Ferentz leaving means we're getting a DJ in the end zone and rowing boats in the fourth quarter, I'm OK with going 7-5 every year.
Helicopter Rides. As you may remember, C.J. Beathard's dad (and country music writer) Casey Beathard set off a bit of controversy last December when he told a Tennessee newspaper that his son would look for other opportunities if he didn't get a shot at starting for Iowa. It was a fairly clear shot across the bow at a coaching staff that had paid lip service to "open competition" but kept playing Jake Rudock desipte the results.
Pat Harty talks with the elder Beathard, who now says he wasn't threatening anyone about anything:
"They made it sound like there was an ultimatum; if he doesn't play in this game then we're gone," Casey Beathard said of the article, which appeared in the Tennessean newspaper. "I never said that. Not only that, I'm not going to threaten anybody. That was not a threat."
"It was only because we lost to Wisconsin and Nebraska that it was ever up in the air and that maybe there might be some kind of change," Casey Beathard said of the quarterback competition. "Honestly, my answer got twisted. But my answer was; I think that we're just going to do what (C.J.) wants to do and he doesn't want to think about it.
"I think after this game we'll know a lot more."
The threat seemed pretty obvious when he said this:
CJB's father says this: "He’s really hoping he doesn’t have to transfer. ... Hopefully it’ll be obvious in this game, one way or the other."— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) December 23, 2014
That's not just a threat. That's one of those mafia threats where the guy making it is scratching his cheek for some reason while saying it. But hey, it worked. Rudock's gone and Beathard is still here, so whatever.
ESPN has a fantastic post on Drew Ott. The money quote: "He's so hard core," Iowa center Austin Blythe said, "I think he made his girlfriend eat a raw egg, too." A second post on Ott focuses on how Bo Pelini pushed him into Iowa's arms. Thanks for that one, Bo!
The Gazette has consolidated all of its season preview information under one link for convenience. It's enough to get you through the morning at work.
BT Powerhouse writes that replacing Gabe Olaseni could be more important to 2015-16 Iowa basketball than replacing Aaron White. I'd agree that it's certainly more difficult to replace what Olaseni did -- Iowa's not even going to try finding another seven-footer to come off the bench and throw shots into the third row -- but the scoring and rebounding that White provided is probably more important.
UI has released a chart for what fans are supposed to wear to games this fall.
Remember, you're supposed to wear gold if you're going this Saturday. So bold. So very, very bold.
One of these days, they will bring back the amazing soundtrack from EA's NCAA Football 2006 and give it the proper place it deserves. Until then, you get X Ambassadors on repeat:
Here is your college football soundtrack for 2015, if you are watching a game covered by ESPN. pic.twitter.com/KKWyGPqS4A— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) August 31, 2015
At least they stopped using "Centuries." My therapist spent the entire offseason trying to remove it from my consciousness. It's like that song was trying to make me remember it for centuries.
Finally, not everything in Wisconsin is terrible.