Iowa Football: Marcus Coker Released Amidst Assault Investigation

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 10, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 8:  Marcus Coker #34 of the Iowa Hawkeyes carries the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the game on October 8, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Iowa Hawkeyes had been silent on the reason why they left Marcus Coker behind when they played in the Insight Bowl. 

CBS Sports reports the Hawkeyes' star running back has been released from his scholarship and will transfer amidst a sexual assault investigation that dates back to October. 

Coker was suspended a few days before Iowa was to take part in the Insight Bowl against Oklahoma, a game they would drop, 31-14.  At the time, the school stated Coker had violated the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.

It seems that the reason may be far more serious than just that. 

The report states there is an open investigation against Coker citing alleged sexual assault that took place on Oct. 28, 2011.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen goes into detail on what was reported on the night of the 28th at Coker's residence:


"...a woman reported to police that she was the victim of an assault at Coker's residence, 618 Iowa Ave. The alleged assault took place sometime between 1:15-1:30 p.m. on Oct. 28."

The circumstances surrounding the assault are not detailed in the report, but it does note that the responding officer was dispatched to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a sexual assault....after conferring with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, prosecution was not pursued. Hart said the alleged victim also did not want to prosecute."


It is important to note that the university has not yet come out and said whether or not the assault allegations were the reason behind Coker's departure. 

The Gazette was able to get a statement from Coker's Facebook page. The mysterious message reads as follows: 


"Welp so much for that. It was a good 2 years 2 I could of asked for. Thanks again for the support. I really wish I could tell u guys wats goin on cuz its really ridiculous to b punished for somethin I didnt do. Id like to think [thank] the coaches and athletic staff for everything. Hawk for life."


The CBS Sports report does well to state university officials have not made available head coach Kirk Ferentz for comment. For now, the media are left to fill in the large gaps with one sexual assault report that was filed a couple months ago. 

Meanwhile, we can only take Coker on his word that he left some time ago on his Facebook page. Now the Hawkeyes will have to scramble to find depth in a shrinking backfield as freshman running back Mika'il McCall has also left the program. 

The season may have ended, but the real work begins as the Hawkeyes re-fashion their roster after a huge loss in Coker.