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Urban Meyer, Jaguars subpoenaed by federal court over controversial Chris Doyle hiring

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are still dealing with fallout related to their hiring of and subsequent parting with former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa has subpoenaed the team and head coach Urban Meyer seeking information on Doyle, whom the team hired on Feb. 11 as director of sports performance. Doyle resigned under pressure a day later amid outcry over allegations of discrimination and racist abuse of players when he was the strength coach at Iowa. Meyer hired Doyle on his staff after Iowa fired him amid the allegations.

Court seeks evidence for federal discrimination suit

Attorneys for a group of Black players who played for Doyle at Iowa have filed a federal discrimination suit against the former strength coach. The subpoena, which also names general manager Trent Baalke, seeks information from the Jaguars on their communications with and about Doyle as evidence in the suit. 

The Jaguars acknowledged the subpoena in a statement on Wednesday.

"We respect and will cooperate with the legal process as required," the statement reads. "However, the Jaguars have no information that would be relevant to the lawsuit between student-athletes and the University of Iowa."

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - JUNE 15: Head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars Urban Meyer watches the action during Jacksonville Jaguars Mandatory Minicamp at TIAA Bank Field on June 15, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Urban Meyer claimed that Chris Doyle was "vetted thoroughly". (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

What the subpoena seeks

Per the Florida Times-Union, the subpoena seeks any separation agreement between Doyle and the Jaguars, Doyle’s resume, documents including electronic information and recordings of any conversations between Doyle and the Jaguars from January 2021 to the present, documents and electronic information of correspondence and communications between Meyer, other Jaguars employees and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, documents and communications between the Jaguars and Iowa athletic director Gary Barta concerning Doyle and evidence of the Jaguars’ diligence performed prior to hiring Doyle.

Doyle accused of discrimination, running unsafe workouts

The lawsuit accuses Doyle of creating a hostile environment for Black players at Iowa including repeated instances of using racist language and mocking Black culture. The plaintiffs allege that Black players weren't treated equally as white players at Iowa as the program practiced discrimination under the guise of “Iowa culture.”

One player also accused Doyle of stepping on players' fingers before weight-lifting sessions. In a 2011 incident, 13 players were hospitalized with muscle-injury syndrome rhabdomyolysis after a workout supervised by Doyle.

Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz — son of head coach Kirk — is also named in the suit. The court has dismissed claims made against Kirk Ferentz.

Meyer: Doyle was 'vetted throuroughly'

Iowa fired Doyle in 2020 amid the outcry while awarding him more than $1 million as part of a separation agreement. 

The Jaguars hired Doyle despite the allegations with Meyer claiming that he was "vetted thoroughly" before being hired. Meyer said at the time that he's had a relationship with Doyle for 20 years.

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