Early discussion at today’s Iowa football news conference focused on the University’s drug-testing program, in the wake of receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos’ arrest on drug charges, the departure of running back Jewel Hampton and the decision to not allow running back Adam Robinson to accompany the team to the Insight Bowl later this month.
“We did learn there were some flaws and some inconsistencies (in the program),” Barta said in his opening remarks.
Some student-athletes have probably found a way to get around the drug testing at Iowa, Barta said. “It’s sort of become a cottage industry, finding ways to beat the tests,” he said.
When a player tests positive for drugs or other substances, “we get them help,” Barta said.
Are more players involved? “We don’t have any more, and we don’t anticipate any more,” Barta said, a sentiment echoed by Ferentz.
“There’s just so much misinformation out there,” Ferentz added. “I anticipate everyone else on the roster being ready to go (for the Insight Bowl).”
Ferentz also affirmed that Hampton’s departure was voluntary. “It was a mutual decision,” he said of Hampton’s decision to transfer to another school.
Barta said there have been additional drug tests, and that the UI tests 800 to 900 student-athletes every year. There’s been no new testing programs instituted in the wake of Johnson-Koulianos’ arrest, he said.
Ferentz said, in fact, that the football team was testing 10 players at the time of Johnson-Koulianos’ arrest.
“The state of the program is in great hands,” Barta said, in a sort of vote of confidence for Ferentz as a coach.
Ferentz said he thinks Robinson will rejoin the team in January.
Drug testing policies need to be tightened, both Barta and Ferentz affirmed.