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April 2, 2004
Dr. David J. Skorton, President
RE: Investigation of Allegations of Recruiting Violations
Dear Dr. Skorton:
You asked me on March 8 to investigate allegations that the University of Iowa assisted in arranging a sexual encounter between a football recruit and a young woman in the course of his official visit to the University. The allegations arose in stories published by the Manhattan (Kansas)Mercury, and related to statements made by prospective student athlete Nick Patton. The University of Iowa hosted Mr. Patton as a football recruit on the weekend of September 20 to 22, 2003. I completed my investigation today and have concluded that the allegations are without merit. Neither the University nor the football program encouraged or facilitated any sexual activity for Mr. Patton during or after his visit.
I began the investigation immediately upon my appointment. During the course of the investigation, I identified, contacted, and interviewed those persons -- more than thirty altogether -- who had knowledge relevant to Mr. Patton's recruiting trip to Iowa. In addition to conducting interviews, I reviewed records of the intercollegiate athletics office and other relevant documents. I was able to reconstruct Mr. Patton's activities during his forty-three hour visit to the University of Iowa September 20 -- 22. As you suggested in your instructions, I took steps to protect the identities of persons who had not been previously identified by the news media in their coverage of this story.
This report provides a summary of Nick Patton's activities during his recruiting visit to the University of Iowa. Where discrepancies existed in the recollections of witnesses (and there were several minor discrepancies (I resolved them by accepting the information that was most consistent with other, credible information. Some people who provided interviews recalled slightly different details and timing of events. None of the information that I obtained from any of the sources, however, supported the allegation that the University of Iowa or its football program played a role in arranging or facilitating a sexual liaison during Nick Patton's recruiting visit.
Findings of Fact
The University of Iowa football program requested an official visit from Nick Patton on August 4, 2003. The request was approved by the Director of Student Services and Compliance the following week, and staff members then arranged to bring Mr. Patton to Iowa City for the Arizona State game on Saturday, September 20. Mr. Patton was one of six recruits who made official visits that weekend. He traveled alone from Kansas by air and arrived at the airport in Cedar Rapids shortly before noon.
A graduate assistant from the University of Iowa football program met Mr. Patton at the airport and drove him to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cedar Rapids. There, Mr. Patton met briefly and informally with some of the other official recruits and members of the football staff. He reviewed and signed a form indicating the date and time of his official visit and acknowledging that he could not use any university athletic equipment or participate in practices. At 1:00 o'clock, the visiting recruits joined the members of the Hawkeye football team for their pre-game meal and the team meeting that followed. The recruits, team members, and football staff then traveled by bus to Kinnick Stadium, arriving shortly before 3:00 o'clock.
Upon arrival at Kinnick Stadium, the recruits went to the locker room and were met by a group three student football ambassadors. The ambassadors took the six recruits on a tour of the Jacobson Athletic Building, including the training room, weight room, equipment room, players' lounge, and the adjacent indoor practice facility. The group then entered Kinnick Stadium and proceeded to the sidelines, where they observed the Hawkeyes during their warmups. At this time, the ambassadors noted that Mr. Patton was "really impressed and excited." He responded enthusiastically to students in the stands who apparently recognized him and urged him to attend the University of Iowa.
The recruits then made a brief visit to the press box accompanied by an administrative assistant and an ambassador, after which they returned to the stands in time for the 5:00 o'clock kickoff. The recruits sat in small groups with family members and ambassadors in a section that also included a large number of potential recruits and their families who were attending the game on an unofficial visit. Mr. Patton sat between two student ambassadors, and again observers noted that he seemed excited and "really into" the game.
Immediately following the game, a senior male ambassador took the six recruits in a group to the locker room, where they met with members of the team and the coaching staff. At that time the recruits were introduced to their student hosts. A graduate assistant then took the recruits, any accompanying family members, and their luggage to the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel so that they could check in prior to dinner.
Between 8:30 and 9:00 o'clock Saturday evening, a graduate assistant picked up the recruits and family members and drove them to the Outback Steak House. Mr. Patton ate dinner with his student host, Abdul Hodge, and other recruits and their hosts. Some members of the football staff ate dinner with the parents of recruits. Following dinner, a graduate assistant again drove Mr. Patton and the other recruits back to the Sheraton Hotel. Mr. Patton changed clothes.
Abdul Hodge and two of the other student hosts picked up their recruits at the hotel and drove to Mr. Hodge's apartment. There, the group watched highlights of the Iowa-Arizona State game and other college games on television. The group of recruits and their hosts then left the apartment. Hodge and Patton went to downtown Iowa City.
The previous day, September 19, Mr. Hodge had received and signed a student host receipt and instructions. The instructions indicated that Hodge would host Patton. The receipt indicated that Hodge was given sixty dollars ($60.00)to be used for the actual costs of entertaining Patton for two days.
Mr. Patton and Mr. Hodge went to the Fieldhouse, where they met and talked with football players and others who were at the bar. The Fieldhouse and the pedestrian mall by its entrance were crowded. Mr. Patton met and danced with some women while he was there. Later in the evening, he observed two young women whom he had not noticed before. One of the women began talking with Mr. Hodge. Mr. Patton then approached the other woman and struck up a conversation. Mr. Patton recalls this meeting taking place in the Fieldhouse. The women recall this meeting taking place on the pedestrian mall outside of the Fieldhouse. The two women asked if there was an after hours party, and Mr. Hodge said that they go to his apartment.
For purposes of this report, the women will be referred to by fictitious names. "Ms. Adams" is 21 years old and "Ms. Bates" is 22 years old. They have been close friends for many years. Both are college students; neither lives in Iowa City and neither attends the University of Iowa. Earlier on Saturday, September 20, Adams worked at her part-time job. Later in the day Bates drove to the town where Adams lives to visit for the weekend. At around 10:30 or 11:00 o'clock that evening, Adams and Bates were joined by a third friend, referred to here as "Ms. Carter." Carter works with Ms. Adams and is a student at yet another college (not the University of Iowa. The three of them decided to drive to Iowa City to go to the bars, to dance, and "to meet guys." They drove in Ms. Bates' car and parked in the bank parking lot behind the Union, a bar close to the Fieldhouse on the pedestrian mall. The three women entered the Union.
When the bars closed around 1:30 o'clock Sunday morning and the crowd poured onto the pedestrian mall, Ms. Carter went with a friend she met at the bar to his residence. Adams and Bates went to Mr. Hodge's apartment with Hodge and Patton. They were the only four present at the apartment at that time. They watched television on the lower level of the apartment briefly, and then Bates and Hodge went upstairs leaving Adams and Patton alone downstairs. Adams and Patton spent that time getting acquainted, and it was then that Ms. Adams learned that Patton was a senior in high school and a football recruit from Kansas. Ms. Adams and Mr. Patton did not engage in sexual activity at Mr. Hodge's apartment.
Later, Ms. Carter called the other two women on their cellular telephones. Carter said she did not want to spend the entire night in Iowa City. Ms. Adams took Patton in Bates' car to the Sheraton Hotel. They exchanged telephone numbers. Ms. Adams recalls that Carter and Bates were in the car with them; Mr. Patton recalls that Patton and Adams were alone on this trip. Between 5:00 and 5:30 Sunday morning, all agree that Ms. Adams, Ms. Carter, and Ms. Bates left Iowa City and returned to the town where Adams' lives, arriving just in time for the opening of a fast food restaurant where they bought breakfast.
Nick Patton awoke at the hotel at about 8:30 A.M. A graduate assistant picked up Patton and the other recruits and took them to the home of Coach Ferentz for breakfast at 9:00 A.M. They were joined by the Ferentz family, other coaches, graduate assistants, and the parents who accompanied some of the recruits.
Following breakfast, Mr. Patton and the other recruits were driven by a graduate assistant to the athletic complex. The recruits toured the athletics education facilities and then met in the auditorium with representatives from academic student services and compliance. Shortly before noon, the recruits met individually with advisors from the recruits' areas of academic interest. Mr. Patton met with an advisor from the psychology department for about twenty minutes. Patton described his recruiting visit as "fun; amazing; impressive." He apologized to the advisor for "not being with it," explaining that he had been "partying maybe too much last night." The meeting ended when the recruits broke for lunch at the football complex.
In the afternoon, while still at the football complex, Mr. Patton met individually with members of the coaching staff. He also attended a session with a panel of players. Without any coaches present, the players addressed questions from the recruits and their parents.
As the other recruits made arrangements to leave Iowa City mid-afternoon on Sunday, a graduate assistant returned Patton to the hotel to rest. Patton was picked up later that afternoon by a graduate assistant and returned to the complex to observe the team meeting and practice session. He met briefly with Coach Ferentz and then accompanied the team to dinner at the Athletic Club. A graduate assistant then drove Mr. Patton back to the Sheraton Hotel, where Patton cleaned up and changed clothes.
Later Sunday evening, Mr. Hodge picked up Mr. Patton at the hotel and the two of them went back to Hodge's apartment. Patton watched television while Hodge studied for classes that he would have the following morning. Hodge asked Patton if he wanted to see if Ms. Adams would like to come over to the apartment. Hodge then used his cell phone to call Adams.
Ms. Adams worked at her job the afternoon of Sunday, September 21st, but she was at home that evening when she received the telephone call from Abdul Hodge. Hodge asked Adams if she would like to see Mr. Patton that evening. Ms. Adams was excited and indicated she that she would. She then drove her own automobile to Hodge's apartment in Iowa City, arriving around 10:30 P.M. She and Mr. Patton watched television at Hodge's apartment until about midnight. She then drove Mr. Patton back to the Sheraton Hotel, where she spent the rest of the night with him. Both Patton and Adams acknowledge engaging in sexual activity at the hotel.
Between 4:30 and 5:00 o'clock Monday morning, a member of the football coaching staff called Nick Patton's hotel room to tell him that it was time for his ride to the airport. A short time later, Mr. Patton and Ms. Adams came down to the hotel lobby. The coach was surprised to see a woman with Patton. He introduced himself to Ms. Adams, who said goodbye to Patton and then left the hotel. The coach then drove Patton to the airport. Patton slept in the car and the two had little conversation. The coach waited at the airport until Patton he boarded his plane, which departed shortly before 7:00 o'clock.
Ms. Adams and Mr. Patton talked frequently by phone after his recruiting trip to Iowa. She called him at home in Kansas on the Tuesday following his return. During that telephone call they decided that they would "be a couple." Adams made two trips from Iowa to visit Patton in Winfield, Kansas, in November. One trip consisted of one overnight stay and the other was for two nights. During the first trip she gave Patton a t-shirt with the logo of the college she attends. During the second visit she gave Patton a cap with the logo of her college and a fleece blanket that she had made. She also brought Patton a University of Iowa t-shirt. He had specifically requested one. The total value of these items was about $75.00, and Ms. Adams used her own money to purchase them and to make the trips to Kansas. During one of the trips Ms. Adams met some of Patton's family.
Ms. Adams and Mr. Patton stayed in close contact until early December. By that time Mr. Patton had decided to attend Kansas State University, and he did not think how his relationship with Ms. Adams could continue. Ms. Adams had not heard from him for some time and Patton did not return her telephone calls, so she wrote him a letter telling him their relationship was ended.
Ms. Adams provided the following perspective on her relationship with Patton: "My relationship with Nick started with a chance meeting while I was visiting Iowa City. No one, from the University of Iowa or otherwise, arranged our meeting or encouraged the relationship. The descriptions of our first meeting and our relationship that have appeared in the newspapers and on television reports are incorrect in many ways and I am upset and angry about these false descriptions. Nick has apologized to me repeatedly for the part he played in generating these false stories."
Mr. Patton agreed with Ms. Adams' characterization of their relationship. He also said that he answered questions asked by the reporters for the Manhattan Mercury because he wanted to be "nice and cooperative." He felt that the reporters "used his comments" against him and the University of Iowa. Patton said that he did not intend to hurt anyone by making the comments. Patton recalled that the recruiting coach at Iowa said that the trip would be "really fun." Patton thought the characterization of the trip as "really fun" might have referred to his relationship with Ms. Adams. The recruiting trips he made to other schools were not nearly as much fun. That was the point he wanted to make in his statements to the reporters, that his meeting Ms. Adams could have been arranged by someone.
Nick Patton's recruiting visit to the University of Iowa was not typical. Six recruits came to Iowa City for their official visits on the same weekend, September 20-21, 2003. Unlike the other recruits' schedules, Mr. Patton's visit included a second overnight stay in Iowa City. Mr. Patton traveled unaccompanied. Mr. Patton's student host lived in an off campus apartment rather than in a dormitory. And Mr. Patton and his student host visited a popular night club late Saturday night. While these experiences were not typical for official recruit visits, they did not in any way indicate that the University or the football program arranged or facilitated the sexual relationship that developed between the recruit and a woman he met in Iowa City during his visit.
The information obtained during the course of this investigation does not support a finding that the University of Iowa or its football program played a role in arranging or facilitating a sexual liaison during Nick Patton's recruiting visit. The relationship that Mr. Patton began with a woman during his recruiting visit to the University of Iowa was the result of the chance meeting of two young adults who found themselves attracted to each other. The allegation that appeared in articles in the Manhattan Mercury is without merit.
Douglas R. Marek