Former Iowa running back Marcus Coker, who withdrew from school after being investigated for assault, will transfer to Stony Brook University, a New York school that is FCS level in football.
Coker, who finished second in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,384 yards, will be eligible next fall and will participate in spring practice, according to Newsday. (Here is a link to the story.)
– Coker was investigated, but not charged, in an alleged sexual assault Oct. 28 in Iowa City, police said. The investigation is closed. The victim didn’t want to press charges.
– SBU coach Chuck Priore said he and SBU administration officials investigated Coker’s background before clearing him to begin classes Monday.
“I did due diligence with the resources I had to really look at his character and his family background,” Priore said. “After the research I did into the allegations, I was comfortable he would be somebody that would be a positive role model moving forward at Stony Brook University. He’s a very good student in the classroom, a very reserved, quiet kid.
“When I met with him, most of the conversation for three hours was about, what do we offer academically? ‘How many credits will transfer, and can I graduate on time?’ He’s exactly on schedule to graduate in eight semesters.”
– Coker will not be available for comment until spring practice in March. But the 6-foot, 230-pound running back from Beltsville, Md., said in a statement: “I’m very grateful to coach Priore and Stony Brook University for this opportunity. I’ve become aware of Stony Brook’s growing football program and outstanding academics. I’m excited for spring practice and the chance to help my teammates win a fourth straight Big South championship.”
– An Iowa spokesman Monday confirmed Coker was not asked to leave school. Coker chose to make a fresh start at Stony Brook, where he is eligible to play immediately after switching from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
As close as Coker has come to making a statement on the matter was this Facebook post:
“Welp so much for that. It was a good 2 years iowa..best 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 the coaches and athletic staff for everything. Hawk for life.”
If something short-circuited in reinstatement, those documents will be shuffled under FERPA protection, which didn’t do a whole lot for Coker — the rampant speculation was off the charts before the Iowa City Police Department investigation was revealed — but did keep a lot of six-figure salaries in UI administration out of the news.
Clearly, Coker didn’t agree with the punishment, and the above Facebook statement came after his suspension for the Insight Bowl, so there might have been further sanction in whatever form. Was he required to admit to a level of culpability to regain active status for the football team? FERPA.
Coker takes the brunt, but he also put himself in this position. He’s clearly not blameless. Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness has lectured Iowa football on sexual assault. And there’s the recent history, which has placed Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on the stand during the Everson/Satterfield sexual assault trials. The UI is hyper sensitive to sexual assault allegations, as in zero tolerance. The UI has seemed to have sharpened its policy in what has been a desultory exercise. In this case, it was an investigation that ended without a charge and it lead to FERPA FERPA FERPA and Coker transferring.
In the end, it looks as though the UI raised a hoop that Coker refused to jump through. FERPA.
But it’s OK, Coker was already edited out of the UI fundraising video. It’s a new day at Stony Brook. Explanation has been obfuscated and now we wait for the next case.