Iowa filled its last official coaching spot in March by promoting Kelvin Bell from the recruiting staff to a defensive assistant/recruiting coordinator role. That, of course, left an open spot on the recruiting staff, which was filled late last week by a familiar face:
Iowa has rehired the son-in-law of football coach Kirk Ferentz to a staff position, three years after he departed following questions of nepotism.
Iowa announced Friday that Tyler Barnes would be the team's new director of recruiting. Barnes, 30, had been working as an assistant at Vanderbilt since 2013.
Barnes is married to Kirk Ferentz's daughter, Joanne. He was initially hired into a quality control position at Iowa while the two were dating. Ferentz got himself into some hot water when he tried to extend his appointment without opening the position in 2012, then pleaded ignorance to the same nepotism rules that had come into play when Brian Ferentz had been hired. Barnes was subjected to the same contrived chain of command absurdity that the younger Ferentz received -- he was suddenly reporting to Gary Barta rather than Ferentz directly -- before taking a position with Vanderbilt, and became Director of Player Personnel after a year.
The biggest issue with Barnes' first position at Iowa was that his qualifications looked to be little more than Kirk Ferentz's future son-in-law. He now has the resume necessary to justify the position, and so (much like Brian Ferentz) the nepotism issues are closer to technicalities than actual concerns.
In summary: Iowa athletics does not give one damn about nepotism and will set up elaborate bureaucratic systems to get around it, but at least now we're doing it for someone who is qualified.
Binns Gone Too Long
Lost in all the hoopla over Barnes was Iowa's other football appointment: Former defensive end and notorious pass-swatter Broderick Binns is the new DIrector of Player Development.
In his role, Binns will assist players in their transition from high school to the college level, serve as a liaison between Iowa's academic student services staff and players and oversee the program's community service efforts as well as its summer internship and postgraduate job placement programs.
Iowa created the Director of Player Development role eight years ago amid a string of off-the-field kerfuffles, including that time that Kyle Calloway was arrested while driving a moped and Riley Reiff ran naked through downtown. Ah, those salad days when offseason blogging was easy. Chic Ejiase, who has held the position since its inception and choked all the fun arrests out of the program, left to take a position with the Tennessee Titans earlier this year.
Binns had spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant with Iowa, on top of four years as a player. It's probably safe now to look at how the dominoes fell following the departure of Jim Reid: Seth Wallace, who had two years as a graduate assistant under Ferentz before coming back to Iowa as recruiting coordinator, was promoted to Reid's position as linebackers coach. Kelvin Bell, who played for Ferentz at Iowa and was on the recruiting staff, became recruiting coordinator. Barnes, who had previously served on the recruiting staff and is literally related to Ferentz, moved into Bell's position. And Binns, who played for Ferentz and has been a graduate assistant, took the other open position. These appointments are in addition to former players LeVar Woods and Brian Ferentz, who are already on staff. Iowa has not hired a coach with no past playing or coaching experience with Ferentz since Chris White and Jim Reid, and Reid is gone. The new staff additions in 2013 certainly breathed some new life into a program that was trapped in its own bubble, but with this many internal hires of former players, there has to be at least some concern that a new bubble is on its way.
Then again, he's the Coach of the Freaking Year. Let him do what he wants.
The Big 12, administered by former Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby, is apparently talking expansion yet again, after commissioning a report to see if adding two more teams and a conference championship game would actually help Big 12 teams get into the Playoff and finding out "well, yeah, kinda." We know the Big 12 did this because Bob Bowlsby told us the Big 12 did this:
The numbers run by Chicago-based Navigate Research show the Big 12 has a 4-5 percent better chance of reaching the top four in the CFP by adding two teams, playing one less conference game and holding a championship game, commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday.
There is nothing in this report that we didn't already know. As we all learned this season, the Big 12 has a fairly decent shot of making the Playoff without subjecting its top team to a championship game if (1) there isn't a tie at the top of the standings that its feckless commissioner refuses to break, and (2) the team in contention is Oklahoma or Texas. A one-loss Baylor or TCU is not getting the benefit of any doubt from a Selection Committee built from coaches who remember Barry Switzer and administrators who want to make money like Barry Switzer. A one-loss Oklahoma is, because of the simple fact that it's Oklahoma and not Baylor or TCU. Iowa faces the same conundrum: Perfection is its only path to the top four, barring a 15-year run of unquestionable greatness, because Iowa has not yet had a 15-year run of unquestionable greatness to sway the Committee. This is not rocket science.
The bigger issue, as EDSBS points out, is that THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, and yet Bob Bowlsby did what Bob Bowlsby always does: He spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies and committees to either support his indecision or make the decision for him. Kirk Ferentz worked out well, but Kirk Ferentz is at Iowa because Bob Bowlsby was too chickenshit to simply hire Bob Stoops without using a faculty committee to give him cover. It's as if the only decision he ever made at Iowa of any consequence -- letting Tom Davis' contract expire so that he could hire Steve Alford -- was so bad that he decided to never make another decision again. And for his waffling indecision, he was handed the keys to one of the nation's most successful athletic departments and then an entire conference.
You wanted a weak-kneed bureaucrat running the show, Big 12? This is what you get: Five years of studies that all say the same thing and Dan Beebe cackling from high atop the mountain of cash he's made as a consultant since you cut him loose.
Kirk Ferentz's takeaway from the Laremy Tunsil NFL Draft incident: That Twitter ban is a good thing. And maybe so, but saying this is Twitter's fault is like blaming the telegraph machine delivering Japan's declaration of war for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Peter Jok was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine, which is a fairly decent sign he's not getting drafted. Rumor has it Pete's enrolled for summer classes at Iowa. In other words, this is precisely what Fran McCaffery said it was.
Walk-on guards and potential Parent Trap shenanigans proponents Steven and Michael Soukup are leaving the Iowa basketball program for somewhere else. They played a combined 29 minutes last season. Best of luck in future endeavors, etc.
Former Michigan point guard Spike Albrecht, who once parlayed a great NCAA Tournament game into a brief online flirtation with Kate Upton, is transferring to Purdue, where nobody looks like Kate Upton. The Boilers desperately need a point guard, though, so maybe Spike will get some playing time.
Former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling was arrested for carrying an AK-47 into a strip club. That clicking sound you hear is Jamie Pollard furiously typing an application to get him enrolled in graduate classes for 2016.