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Claims against Hawkeye coach Wallace dropped in discrimination case
Judge postpones trial until further notice, given pending motions
IOWA CITY — Nearly a year after former Hawkeye football players added linebackers coach Seth Wallace to their list of defendants in a discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa Athletics Department, they’ve dropped all claims against him.
The former players — Akrum Wadley, Jonathan Parker, Marcel Joly, Aaron Mends, Darian Cooper, Brandon Simon and Javon Foy — didn’t outline in court documents Friday reasons for the dismissal, done “with prejudice” — meaning they can’t refile the charges.
The players in April 2022 added Wallace to their lawsuit accusing football coaches — including head coach Kirk Ferentz and assistant coach Brian Ferentz — of racially-motivated discrimination and harassment. His name was tacked on as part of an amended complaint, compelled by court rulings on defense arguments, filed more than a year after the players’ original lawsuit in November 2020.
The updated lawsuit removed six players from the list of plaintiffs and also pulled UI strength and conditioning coach Raimond Braithwaite from the list of defendants — in addition to adding Wallace, the linebackers coach and assistant defensive coordinator who started on the Iowa coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2006.
The players in April 2022 said they were adding Wallace after learning an independent review of the Hawkeye football program produced four personnel reports the university sought to keep hidden — including one applying to Wallace, according to court records.
“Thus, plaintiffs believe that Wallace, like defendants Brian Ferentz and (former strength and conditioning coach) Chris Doyle, harassed, bullied and belittled Black players on account of their race, thereby creating a racially hostile environment,” according to court documents.
In the amended complaint, the players said, “K. Ferentz further exacerbated racial disparities within the program by hiring Wallace, first as a graduate assistant in 2006 and again in 2014 as a fully-fledged assistant coach.”
“Wallace discriminated against, bullied, demeaned, and harassed African American football athletes almost daily,” the amended suit said then.
Remaining on the lawsuit as named defendants are the University of Iowa, the state Board of Regents, Kirk and Brian Ferentz, Doyle and UI Athletic Director Gary Barta.
Although the case in 2021 was set for a jury trial in May 2023, a federal judge earlier this month postponed the pretrial conference and jury trial until further notice “in light of pending motions in this case.”
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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