CLIVE — This is the time of year where personnel decisions are made. Kirk Ferentz has spent most of the last few days meeting with each and every one of the players on Iowa’s roster.
And a few who aren’t on the roster or are in at least a little bit of limbo.
Senior cornerback Willie Lowe and junior running back Adam Robinson could have decisions on their futures made in the next few weeks, Ferentz said Tuesday night at a Polk County I-Club gathering.
Lowe was one of the 13 Hawkeyes stricken with rhabdomyolysis after a strenuous January workout. The UI has confirmed that Lowe asked for a release from his scholarship. Ferentz and Lowe spoke by phone on Sunday.
“I think he’s coming closer to deciding what he wants to do,” Ferentz said. “Hopefully, I’ll have an announcement on that in the next couple weeks.”
Ferentz said the door is still open for a return.
“I think he needs to figure out what he wants to do and what his next move is,” Ferentz said. “We’re going to support him. I told him from day 1, we want him to stay here and graduate from Iowa. It’s up to him, entirely up to him.”
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said Lowe hasn’t asked for a transfer but has talked to other schools.
“We’ve told him from day 1, we hope he stays and so far that’s the plan,” said Barta, who added that no other rhabdo-affected player has asked for a release.
The door is open for Lowe’s return. Robinson’s return or reinstatement or whatever it is at this point is a tougher gauge.
Robinson was suspended for violations of team rules before the Hawkeyes’ trip to Arizona for the Insight Bowl. The night before the game, Robinson was pulled over by the Iowa State Patrol and cited with marijuana possession. Robinson was Iowa’s leading rusher the last two seasons. He missed two games in 2010 because of concussions.
Ferentz said there’s nothing to report. He has spoken to Robinson’s mother, Sally, but still hasn’t spoken to Adam, who remains on athletic scholarship through the spring semester.
“My No. 1 focus for him is to do well academically this semester and then we’ll see where it takes him,” Ferentz said. “Clearly, he’d have to have some idea on what he wants to do, I would think in the next couple weeks.”
Barta said there hasn’t been any discussion on Robinson’s next step in terms of football and no timetable exists for the next move.
“I don’t want to speculate,” Barta said. “At this point, it’s status quo. He’s in school and he’s not currently on the team.”
The Iowa City Council put a halt to a movement that would’ve banned vendors from selling T-shirts and food — including the venerable Big Ass Turkey Legs — on Melrose Avenue outside of Kinnick Stadium. At Monday night’s work session, council members said they want to draft a permit system so the city can impose regulations.
Ferentz said he was glad to see that. He wants the fans to be happy and enjoys the atmosphere around Kinnick on gamedays.
“We were rerouted during one of the construction years and went down Melrose,” Ferentz said. “I was amazed at what I was missing for 20 years, What a great environment it was. That’s what’s unique to college football, that’s what’s unique to our situation.
“Selfishly, I hope they can come to an accord and work everything out. I know we have a great fan experience. As a coach, I want that to continue. I’ve said this jokingly, but I can’t wait to retire. I don’t know if I’ll go into the games, but I’m going to go tailgate a little bit and enjoy the atmosphere. Seems like everybody has a great time. Hopefully, that continues.”
Barta is glad the vendors have some footing within the city council.
“I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a Big Ass Turkey Leg,” Barta said, “but I’m thrilled that they’ll still be up for sale, or it appears they will be on Melrose.
“. . . I think they came to a common-sense resolution, which I’m thrilled to hear, because I do think it’s a great part of the game-day environment.”