Last summer, in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Iowa announced that it would be cutting four Iowa sports programs. In light of that decision, other coaches at the school were asked to take part in voluntary salary reductions to help offset massive budget deficits. None of the Iowa football coaches, including head coach Kirk Ferentz, participated in the program, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

The Gazette reports that all U of I Athletic Department staff were asked to take part in the voluntary program, or to make a donation back to the department sometime during the fiscal year. Most staff members took the cut, including Fran McCaffery, Lisa Bluder, Tom and Terry Brands, and the head coaches of volleyball, rowing, field hockey, women's gymnastics, women's tennis, softball, soccer, baseball, golf, and track and field. Even the head coaches of the four programs Iowa was going to cut, took part in the pay reductions.

The Gazette reports that instead of taking pay cuts to help out the athletic department, the football coaches instead agreed to forgo the bonuses they earned by Iowa qualifying for a bowl game. Due to COVID cases on the Missouri football team, Iowa never even played that bowl game. By passing up the bonuses, the football staff saved the department $431,333. The coaches who took part in salary reductions saved the school $1.6 million.

When Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta announced the salary cutting program last year, the Gazette reports that he made public that coaches Bluder, McCaffery, Brands and Ferentz had agreed to the voluntary pay cuts. But the records show that Ferentz did not take that cut. His pay actually increased by $100,000 last year, up to $2.7 million per season.

Personally, I think the optics of this are far worse than than the so called slight. Kirk and Mary Ferentz have donated millions of dollars to the university, and to the Stead Family Children's Hospital. There is still time for them to make a donation to this cause as well.


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