Iowa players Ferentz, Derby plead out

Updated: May 4, 2009, 4:06 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

Iowa football players James Ferentz and Zach Derby pleaded guilty to public intoxication last week, according to online court records.

Records show that Ferentz, a freshman center for the Hawkeyes and the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, and Derby, a freshman tight end, submitted written pleas of guilty on Friday. Both players had been scheduled for bench trials May 8 after pleading not guilty to the charge at their first court appearance April 6.

Ferentz, Derby and fullback Tyler Christensen were cited by university police in the early morning hours of April 6. Christensen pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal mischief and public intoxication and paid fines totaling $489, while the others pleaded not guilty.

According to a university police complaint, Christensen and Derby attempted to fight an off-duty police officer, while Ferentz was seen stumbling and yelling nearby. Derby's blood-alcohol level measured .211 before his arrest, while Ferentz's measured .16.

Kirk Ferentz suspended all three players for the duration of spring practice. The coach said he would determine additional punishment for the players after spring ball, which concluded April 18.

"He's not like any kid on the team, I know that," Kirk Ferentz told ESPN.com on April 10. "We signed on for that a year ago, and we all knew that going in. That's one of the downsides. He's going to have to deal with it, but we'll all get through it."

James Ferentz, 19, also was cited in October for possession of alcohol under the legal age, pleaded guilty and paid a fine.

Kirk Ferentz suspended his son from team activities for the remainder of the 2008 regular season. James Ferentz returned for the Outback Bowl and entered spring practice as the team's No. 2 center.

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com.

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