Barta garners big contract extension

Barta+garners+big+contract+extension

By Jordan Hansen

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While plenty of questions swirl about the Iowa Athletics Department, the university decided to double-down on Athletics Director Gary Barta, extending his contract to June 30, 2021.

Barta’s contract was set to expire after June 30 of this year. According to documents provided by the school, the parties agreed on an extension that went into effect on Jan. 1.

The extension comes on the heels of a Feb. 12 Associated Press report that the UI is under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights after allegations of gender bias in the Athletics Department. The investigation stems from a complaint filed by four field-hockey players over former head coach Tracey Griesbaum’s firing.

Iowa also faces a lawsuit filed by Jane Meyer, a former senior associate athletics director who was reassigned to a different department, that accuses the university of discrimination.

Barta has served as the Hawkeye AD since Aug. 1, 2006.

“Director Barta is a longtime member of the University of Iowa family and extending his contract was the right thing to do,” UI President Bruce Harreld said in a statement. “He and the entire Athletics Department are committed to the success of our student-athletes both on the field of play and in the classroom.”

p1-BartaIowa has seen quite a bit of sports success under Barta, especially this season. The football team started the season 12-0 and ended up in the Big Ten Championship game and Rose Bowl.

The men’s basketball team is having its best year of coach Fran McCaffery’s tenure. Barta hired McCaffery and Rick Heller, the Hawkeye baseball coach.

Last year, Heller gave Iowa its best season in more than two decades; the team finished 41-18 and made the NCAA Tournament.

That success will pay off, literally. Barta’s currently salary of $400,000 will increase in July by $150,000. However, that isn’t the only raise built into the contract — Barta stands to add another $50,000 to his yearly salary in 2018.

Barta also will see a boost in his annual deferred compensation. He was slated to receive $135,000 this year under his old contract; that figure will rise to $250,000. Like his salary, his deferred payment will also increase by $50,000 in 2018.

All told, Barta is ensured $4.6 million through June 30, 2021.

“Director Barta’s compensation reflects the current salaries across the Big Ten and other major athletics programs in the marketplace,” Harreld said in the statement.

The investigation into the Iowa Athletics Department will likely last far longer than the end of Barta’s previous contract, leaving the university in a hard place.

However, officials had to make a decision, and with the type of sports success Iowa has enjoyed, there probably wasn’t a more appealing time to make one.

“My family and I have been blessed to be back in Iowa these past 10 years. We have incredible coaches, staff, student-athletes, and fans,” Barta said in a statement. “I’m grateful to Bruce Harreld for showing his confidence in us and allowing us to be a part of his team going forward. The best is yet to come.”

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