Big Ten

Hawkeyes fans' approval of Kirk Ferentz drops dramatically


Hawkeyes fans' approval of Kirk Ferentz drops dramatically

Kirk Ferentz is far less popular than he was a year ago, according to a Public Policy Polling poll, results of which were released Wednesday.

Now, your first question — much like mine — might be why a polling organization typically focused on political races is talking to Iowans about college football. But that's what the folks over at PPP did, and their findings are interesting.

Only 46 percent of Hawkeyes fans approve of the job Ferentz is doing running the show in Iowa City, and 30 percent disapprove.

Those upsetting figures aren't terribly surprising given the Hawkeyes' mediocre performance last season and the trend of mediocrity that's emerged under Ferentz in recent years. Iowa finished 7-6 last season, the fifth consecutive campaign with eight or fewer wins. Since winning the Orange Bowl with an 11-2 finish in the 2009 season, Iowa's posted a .531 winning percentage in those five seasons. The Hawkeyes haven't won a bowl game since the 2010 season, including a crushing 45-28 loss to Tennessee in this past season's TaxSlayer Bowl.

[MORE BIG TEN: Urban Meyer: All indications are that Braxton Miller is staying with Buckeyes]

Fans' displeasure with Ferentz has been in ample supply. However, that hasn't changed the fact that Ferentz made $4,075,000 last season, when he was the ninth highest-paid coach in the country.

At this time last year, fans were far more fond of Ferentz, with 60 percent of fans approving and 13 disapproving.

Faring much better than Ferentz in the poll was Iowa head basketball coach Fran McCaffery, who 65 percent of fans approved of and only 10 percent disapproved of.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.