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Ferentz's future son-in-law assigned new supervisor after review

BY BRENT GRIFFITHS | MARCH 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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After a Cedar Rapids Gazette investigation revealed a possible violation of university policy in the employment of University of Iowa football assistant Tyler Barnes, the Athletics Department will review his long-term employment and assign him to a new supervisor.

“I have reviewed Tyler’s job duties, and I am comfortable with him fulfilling these duties at this time,” said Athletics Director Gary Barta. “In the short term, and effective immediately, Tyler will report to Associate Athletics Director Rick Klatt in our external relations unit.”

Barta’s announcement came in light of Barnes’ engagement to Joanne Ferentz, one of head football Coach Kirk Ferentz’s daughters.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said the review of Barnes’ employment would be begin next week.

Despite the investigation, one UI official did not believe the developments warranted such scrutiny.

“I was dean for 28 years, and it would not have crossed my mind to even check the regulations if one my staff people I hired a year before was engaged to one of my own children,” said N. William Hines, the head of the Presidential Committee on Athletics. “As far as I know … there doesn’t seem to be any need for the big concern or criticism of Coach Ferentz.”

While the committee oversees the hiring of permanent athletics employees, Hines said Barnes’ position was not included, besides a notification to the committee of his hiring.

“[His position] is well below the level where we maintain any kind of scrutiny,” he said.

Another athletics official said the UI’s nepotism policy, which requires reviewing intense personal friendships or significant business relationships, is “a parameter we have to work within.” However, she indicated that Barnes’ employment predated his relationship.

“[Tyler] worked in the university years before dating or getting engaged,” said Mary Curtis, an associate athletics director at the UI.

The UI’s nepotism policy requires those types of relationships to be reviewed to see if they present a conflict of interest.  Although the decision to manage a possible conflict must be based on a “sound institutional reason,” the policy requires a management plan to be put in place if a conflict is found.
According to documents obtained through an open-records request by The Daily Iowan, Barnes was hired for the position in January 2012 for one year with a salary of $32,000.

Curtis then requested an extension for Barnes in November 2012. Her request to the UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity cited Ferentz’s desire to retain him since Barnes had exceeded his limit of 1,040 hours.

“Kirk would like the option to retain Tyler for this position in order to give Tyler the additional professional experience needed to compete for a full-time administrative job in the intercollegiate athletics industry,” Curtis wrote an email.

According to the Gazette, Barnes became engaged to Joanne Ferentz six months into the job. His employment was then extended.

UI officials said while they don’t foresee any immediate changes to the policy, any situation gives them time to see if a review is necessary.

“Anytime a situation arises, it warrants reviewing our policies and practices to see if they can be improved,” said Mark Braun, the UI interim vice president for Strategic Communications.


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