Iowa State Auditor Calls For Hawkeyes Athletic Director Gary Barta’s Head Over Racism Scandal

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Gary Barta has been the Athletic Director of the Iowa Hawkeyes since 2006.

In that time, Barta has had his fair of share of ugly incidents.

Take, for instance, the sexual harassment case that the university dealt with in 2014. Or the Title IX lawsuit that it settled in 2017. That came just a year after settling a similar suit over a fired assistant track coach.

Beyond that, it’s not like Barta has overseen particularly remarkable athletics results. In fact, the contract he recently handed out to football offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz was widely mocked across the country.

Nonetheless, Barta has remained in charges of the Hawkeyes’ athletic department.

But now that position may be in jeopardy.

Iowa State Auditor Calls For Gary Barta To Resign As Hawkeyes Athletic Director

Chad Leistikow of The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa state auditor Rob Sand is calling for Barta’s removal after the university settled yet another law suit, this time over a racial discrimination suit filed in 2020.

“Under Gary Barta’s leadership at the University of Iowa Athletics Department, we’ve had the Peter Gray scandal plus three instances of discrimination totaling nearly $7 million in damages (setting aside other suits),” Sand said in a statement to other settlement board members.

“After the largest settlement (referring to a $6.5 million payout from the discrimination lawsuit surrounding the 2014 firing of former field hockey coach Tracey Greisbaum and retaliation against her partner, Jane Meyer), Barta asserted no wrong was done. Now we have a new matter for $4 million more, and for the first time they want part paid from the taxpayers’ general fund, even though they now collect tens of millions annually thru the Big Ten TV deal.

“Enough is enough. Clear personal accountability is necessary. I will not support taxpayers funding this settlement unless Gary Barta is no longer employed at the university and forfeits any severance or similar pay. I encourage you to join me. Real accountability will help prevent discrimination, protecting both taxpayers and future victims.” – via The Des Moines Register

Sand’s statement was a scathing rebuke of Barta. But it’s hard to argue with anything he’s said. It’s not surprisingly to see athletics trump all else when it comes to decision making. But Barta’s results don’t really warrant such a strong fight to retain him.

The latest settlement may just be the last straw for Iowa leadership and fans.