In a bit of shocking news, the University of Iowa announced Friday morning that longtime athletic director Gary Barta will be retiring on August 1st from the position he’s held since 2006.
Despite multiple Hawkeye athletic programs having significant success during his tenure, Barta’s time in Iowa City is probably most significantly defined by a litany of lawsuits, including: discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation, intimidating victims of sexual assault, hiring and retaining coaches with a history of causing and neglecting player injuries, employing advisers that trade football tickets for sexual favors and sexually harass students for decades on end, and racial bias within the Iowa football program.
However, Barta says all of those hours spent in courtrooms may have allowed him to find what he believes is his life calling: a professional courtroom defendant.
“Last week, I had the pleasure of taking a great deal of time to reflect on my life and career while sitting on the toilet in the women’s restroom. During that reflective period, I came to the realization that I had found more joy sitting in those courtrooms explaining away my complete lack of regard for human rights than I had in any of my typical duties as Athletic Director,” Barta said candidly when approached for comment.
“Some people find their calling early in life and pursue it. Some find it later in life. Some never find it at all. I didn’t find mine until later in life, but fortunately, I am financially able to take some risks and really dive headfirst into this new way of life for me. I’ve already thought of a number of new and creative ways to make somebody want to sue me.”
When asked about how he planned to pay for the legal fees and any court settlements from future cases, Barta mentioned the possibility of his own TV series on Court TV following his life in the courtroom, with former Iowa strength and conditioning Chris Doyle and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, as well as head Iowa head football coach and disappointed father Kirk Ferentz even being floated as guest stars.
Rumors have already begun to circulate regarding Barta’s potential replacement. Beth Goetz, Iowa’s current Deputy AD, has raised eyebrows within the athletic department and seems poised to step into the void left by Barta. However, University officials are unsure that she can do the job. “We aren’t sure Beth can drum up enough controversy and generate legal fee revenue for the greater Iowa City defense attorney community. While we are sure she is qualified on paper, we will need to see a blatant disregard for common sense and reasoning before we fully support her administration.”