Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Football [Print without images]

Friday, December 20, 2013
Updated: December 21, 1:49 PM ET
Former WR says Iowa defamed him

By Adam Rittenberg
ESPN.com

Iowa responded Friday to a series of social media comments from former wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, who alleges he was defamed by coach Kirk Ferentz and plans to write a book about his experience at the school.

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is alleging that Iowa coaches ruined his chances to be drafted by defaming his character to NFL teams.

Johnson-Koulianos, who played at Iowa from 2006 to 2010, is the school's all-time leader in receptions with 173 and ranks second in receiving yards with 2,616. His career ended in December 2010 when he was suspended from the team following an arrest on drug-related charges. He missed Iowa's Insight Bowl appearance later that month.

"During his career at Iowa, Mr. Johnson-Koulianos had moments of success on the field," Iowa's statement said. "He also made some unfortunate decisions during that period of time. As we do with all student-athletes, we attempted to assist him and work through the various issues. Unfortunately, his tenure ended with him being suspended from participating in intercollegiate athletics at Iowa due to being in violation of the UI's Student-Athlete Code of Conduct."

Johnson-Koulianos wrote on Twitter and in a text message to ESPN.com that Iowa cut off contact with him after his suspension.

"Since that December I haven't heard from anyone from the U of I," he wrote in the text message. "I passionately served that institution for five years. I've reached out and made plenty of efforts to mend the relationship. I've certainly moved on but now an opportunity to tell my story about my life and all the experiences within it has presented itself.

"My hope is that future players know the possibility of abandonment if adversity arises at this particular institution. Providing perspective can sometimes be detrimental but truth is what matters most."

Johnson-Koulianos posted a series of comments Tuesday on Twitter alleging that Ferentz discouraged NFL teams from pursuing Johnson-Koulianos in the 2011 draft.

Johnson-Koulianos tweeted Tuesday:

Would u like it if u slaved for someone 4 5 yrs then when you arrived @ adversity they abandon you & tell potential employers not 2 hire u?

— DJK (@coachkoul) December 17, 2013

Johnson-Koulianos had short stints with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers but is no longer playing. He's pursuing a career in coaching.

Another tweet read:

At least 10 NFL teams said to me "We understand you made a mistake but my concern is no one at Iowa had anything good to say about you."

— DJK (@coachkoul) December 17, 2013

Johnson-Koulianos tweeted that he takes full blame for his mistakes at Iowa but that the truth should be told after Ferentz "demonized" his character. He alleges that Ferentz once made him wear a trash can during practice as punishment and that strength coach Chris Doyle took a picture and put it in the weight room.

The former Hawkeye tweeted that he received an offer to write a book, which will be published next summer.

People want me to move on. I am once for all. Right after this publication.

— DJK (@coachkoul) December 17, 2013

Some of Johnson-Koulianos' former teammates have come out supporting him. Former Iowa cornerback Amari Spievey wrote this on his Facebook page:

"I support DJK 100%. He was a big part of us winning all those games and was treated very poorly. Even before he got in trouble. Iowa didn't like for (people) to be themselves. Djk is a unique person. He's not going to be like everyone else. A cookie cutter Iowan. Not everyone is like that."

Former Iowa offensive lineman Dace Richardson defended Ferentz and the program.

"Man I don't have twitter but I hear a fellow teammate of mine wants to bash my head coach in tell all book," Richardson wrote on his Facebook page. "As they say on ESPN countdown c'mon man!!!! What are (you) thinking if the coaches at iowa didn't have anything nice to say maybe there was a reason ... don't bash them (because) you want someone to blame for career never taking off ... only person to blame is (yourself) ... coach has always been a stand up guy and will always be one so to fans and future recruits don't listen to this mess ... talk to former athletes and you will know the truth ... iowa is a great program because of the leader that runs that ship ... go hawks."