Akrum Wadley Details Racism, Mistreatment at Iowa Football as 'Living Nightmare'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2020

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 21:  Akrum Wadley #25 of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs the ball during a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 21, 2017 in Evanston, Illinois.  The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 17-10.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Former Iowa running back Akrum Wadley detailed his negative experiences at the school in a Facebook post Monday via Pre-PostGame CEO Robert T. Green (h/t Mark Emmert of Hawk Central). 

In the post, he said he was the subject of racism and mistreatment at the hands of head coach Kirk Ferentz, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz and former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle:

"I felt like playing for Iowa Football was a living nightmare. I never drank alcohol prior to going to college but based on my experience there it became the only thing I could rely on it seems and was what I did to cope. Game day was the only day that it was somewhat of a relief for me, but that even became difficult based on what happened during the week leading up to it."

Wadley cited specific examples of abuse, including being berated by Brian Ferentz over a parking spot. He also said the offensive coordinator joked multiple times about the running back committing a robbery while wearing team-issued black hats.

Additionally, he said Kirk Ferentz wouldn't let athletes speak their mind, while the head coach also prevented him from transferring when he wanted to leave.

The player finished his four-year career with the Hawkeyes with 2,872 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns, both in the top five in school history. Still, he explained that he has major regrets about spending time at Iowa:

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"My time at Iowa has done things to me that I am not going to discuss because knowing how these people treated me and other black athletes. I am done giving them power over me. But if I could do it all over again. I wish I never played for the Iowa Hawkeyes. I would not encourage any future athletes or parents to send your kid to go play for the Iowa Hawkeyes under that current coaching staff. My experiences with people outside of the program in the Iowa community are ones that I cherish and will be with me forever grateful for. My hope is my story and those of my teammates save others from the experiences, truths and mistake of playing under and for a coaching staff at Iowa that did and said nothing to stop the bullying and racism from happening to us under Chris Doyle, Brian Ferentz and Kirk Ferentz. What you see on TV isn't what you get behind closed doors."

Many former Iowa players have recently gone public describing abusive and racist actions by the coaching staff. The school parted ways with Doyle after 21 years with the program.

"As a staff and as leaders, we will listen and take to heart the messages we hear," Ferentz said in a statement earlier this month.

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