The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Barta talks on exit surveys, abuse allegations

Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta speaks with one of his attorneys before his testimony in Des Moines on Wednesday. (The Daily Iowan/Blake Dowson)

By Blake Dowson

[email protected]

Documents presented Wednesday in Meyer v. University of Iowa showed that during 2014, the same year allegations of verbal abuse were made against field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum, there were 27 other allegations of verbal abuse and 28 allegations of mental abuse made in the student-athlete exit survey.

The student-athlete exit survey is administered to every athlete at Iowa, and is facilitated anonymously, Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta testified. Because the survey is anonymous, he claimed, it made it “hard to investigate” those allegations, and therefore they went uninvestigated.

Barta testified he had fielded complaints on three separate occasions about abuse in the field hockey program — once recently after he arrived in Iowa City in 2006, another time in 2011, and once more in 2014, which ultimately led to Griesbaum’s termination.

Barta claimed both the first complaint and the 2011 complaint were handled within the Athletic Department, but that the allegations had escalated in that time. They again escalated in 2014, which is why he ordered an investigation, he said.

“I needed additional assistance to get to the bottom of it,” Barta testified.

He then went on to say the main reason he decided to terminate Griesbaum, even though the investigation found no policy violations, was that she was a “coach that was never going to change,” and her previous behavior was cause for concern.

After Griesbaum was terminated, Barta said he was contacted by three field hockey athletes, and that they said they “came [to Iowa] to play for Tracey” and that they wanted him to reinstate her. The same three athletes also wrote a letter to then University of Iowa President Sally Mason on the same issue.

On Oct. 15, 2014, the athletes claimed Barta was ignoring them, and that an investigation would show Griesbaum was a target of gender discrimination due to her firing.

On Sept. 3 of that year, Griesbaum asked for a review of her firing and whether her gender effected her termination. Her request was not met.

Barta also fielded questions from his attorney, George Carroll, on allegations of verbal abuse by volleyball coach Bond Shymansky and men’s gymnastics coach JD Reive.

In both instances, Barta said, the issues were taken care of promptly, and that there were no further issues.

The exchange of a graphic depicting the new football practice facility in 2011 again came up on Wednesday, with Barta remembering Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz telling him “he was done” working with Meyer.

Notes that Barta took during a meeting with Meyer soon after that exchange were brought to the jury’s attention, in which Meyer claimed “in hindsight, I shouldn’t have sent [the graphic] over,” according to Barta. In that meeting, Barta reiterated to Meyer the new facility was to be used mainly for football.

Iowa head women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder is scheduled to testify today at 1:30 p.m., with Barta finishing his testimony after that.

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