Goals are important.
Kirk Ferentz’s teams strive for the lofty goal of finishing each football season with 8 wins.
Fran McCaffery’s teams enter each season with “miss the Sweet 16 again” written atop the team marker board, underlined and in bold.
The Iowa Athletic Department, however, has quite possibly the most pioneering goal of them all: Gary Barta’s quest to hand out $10,000,000 in settlements to former athletes and athletic department employees.
And after reaching a $1.1 million-dollar separation agreement with former football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, Barta is seemingly within arm’s reach of his settlement target.
This comes following the allegations of racist and bullying conduct perpetuated on black Hawkeye football players by several assistant coaches. Barta, who maintains he was blindsided by the allegations despite admitting a survey demonstrated that these issues existed as early as 2018, saw this as the right move for the university – and for his 10-million-dollar goal.
The details of the settlement included 15 months of salary (including unused vacation time) totaling 1.1 million dollars, full health benefits over those 15 months, and an agreement to not sue the university or the board of regents.
“You know, they say there is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs. I kept that in mind with this recent settlement. Firing Doyle was the right move, and probably could have netted us more settlement dollars in court, but I’ve put in a lot of work to this goal and am committed to doing it the right way”, Barta said following Monday’s press conference.
While this settlement may be some of Barta’s best work, it pales in comparison to his efforts over his tenure at Iowa.
In 2017, following a lengthy (and downright ugly) 3-year court case/debacle, the University of Iowa settled with former field hockey coach Tracy Griesbaum and her partner (and former UI administrator) Jane Meyer for a total of $6.5 million dollars for discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Barta also settled for $200,000 back in 2013 in yet another gender discrimination case and settled with a female crew member in 2008 for $300,000 over a dispute regarding an “excessive training regimen”. Excessive training also caused Barta to settle a dispute in 2011 regarding the 13 football players who came down with rhabdomyolysis due to Chris Doyle’s intense workouts.
When asked about possible future settlements with Brian Ferentz or other Iowa assistant coaches, Barta had this to say: “That’s a fair question, and I wish I had an answer at this time. It would be terrific to get this goal knocked out now and settle with as many coaches as we can, but we are awaiting the results of our independent review. That said, I’m very confident another opportunity will come our way sometime soon. Possibly even before the year is out. I’m very optimistic”.
University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, when asked to comment on the situation, was quoted as saying “Thankfully, our America Needs Another Lawyer program ensures we are always ready to rise to the occasion in situations like these. Gary is no stranger to ANAL, and has always backed him up in the past with stiff and quick support”.