Ferentz supports 21-ordinance

BY SCOTT MILLER | MARCH 25, 2010 7:30 AM

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Add Iowa’s highest-paid state employee, head football coach Kirk Ferentz, to the growing list of public officials in support of the 21-ordinance.

At his spring practice press conference Wednesday, Ferentz said he’s “in favor” of the ordinance, which would prohibit those under 21 from entering any bar after 10 p.m.

The head coach, who’s entering his 12th season in Iowa City, said, “No matter what we do — we can try to curtail, we can try to be proactive and educate — but drinking is going to be an issue on every college campus in America.”

The ordinance passed the first of its three readings on Tuesday night, with only Councilor Regenia Bailey opposing it. Many officials, from members of the Faculty Senate and Faculty Council to UI President Sally Mason, have voiced support for the issue, which is the city’s latest attempt to help curb what many now see as a systemic underage-drinking problem in Iowa City.

Ferentz has dealt with numerous underage-drinking issues with his players, including his son James, a redshirt freshman on the team. In a six-month span from October 2008 to April 2009, James Ferentz was arrested for public intoxication and cited for PAULA.

In February 2009, Shaun Prater — who started 10 games last year as a sophomore and is listed as a first-string cornerback on the spring two-deep — was arrested for OWI. Similarly, offensive tackle Kyle Calloway was arrested for an OWI in June 2009.

From 2007-08, several Hawkeyes endured a swell of off-the-field incidents, one of which came when long snapper Clint Huntrods was arrested for public urination, interference with official acts, and public intoxication in September 2007.

A Daily Iowan investigation conducted the week of Oct. 21, 2007, found the Hawkeyes’ then-current roster had been cited with 10 PAULAs, three OWIs, and one public-intoxication charge.

On Wednesday, Ferentz indicated he has tried to investigate how the city’s current ordinance — which allows bars to be 19-and-up — has affected his players.

“That’s one of the questions I had for an older, experienced former team member,” Ferentz said. “I said, ‘Are guys [on the team] using fake IDs?’ He said, ‘No, all you have to do is get in the bars, and you get served.’ So it’s an issue.

“This ordinance isn’t going to be the only cure. I think it’s still education.”

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