Iowa volleyball moving past NCAA violations, looking ahead to next season

After a down 2019 season, the Hawkeyes have high expectations for 2020.


Katie Goodale

Iowa’s Brie Orr sets the ball over the net during an Iowa vs. Lipscomb volleyball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday Sept. 20, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bisons 3-0. Orr had 32 assists during the game.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa volleyball program was officially hit with sanctions May 20 following NCAA rule violations stemming back to 2017.

Now, the program is ready to move forward.

“It was just more of a closing of the loom,” head coach Vicki Brown said. “We knew the outcome was going to come out soon. We’ve always been a program that understands that there is going to be adversity, and it will look different from week to week and season to season.”

Iowa interim head coach Vicki Brown instructs her players during a volleyball match between Iowa and Washington at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Huskies, 3-1. (Megan Nagorzanski)

In 2017, former volleyball head coach Bond Shymansky violated NCAA rules by giving an impermissible benefit to a prospective student-athlete. Over the course of a summer, Shymansky provided the athlete with $2,000 to pay for living expenses.

Shymansky was fired in 2019 when the violations surfaced.

Due to the infractions, Iowa volleyball is on a one-year probation period for the 2020-21 season, which includes a 3.75 percent reduction in prospect evaluation days. The team also had to vacate all of its wins from the 2017-18 and 2018-19 season.

“We’re over it and ready to move on,” senior Brie Orr said.

Last season, Iowa was plagued with injuries and finished the season 10-21 overall and 4-16 in the Big Ten. Only three weeks into the season senior power hitter Meghan Buzzerio suffered a season-ending ACL tear. And in the middle of Big Ten play the team lost Orr, a starting setter, to a concussion.

“Even though it didn’t go our way with wins and losses, I think we learned a lot,” junior Courtney Buzzerio said. “We’re all just really eager to get back into the gym and get better.”

RELATED: Shymansky, Iowa volleyball officially penalized for NCAA rule infractions

For now, the players are doing their best to train on their own, including using makeshift weights and playing in pickup matches.

Iowa Volleyball Head Coach Bond Shymansky watches his team play against the Indiana Hoosiers on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers 3-0. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

“It’s kind of just finding things to do when gyms aren’t open and we can’t go play volleyball just anywhere,” Orr said. “I’ve been doing a lot of workouts and just setting balls around my apartment, but not a lot of organized stuff with other people.”

When practice starts up again, the team will focus on getting back into a rhythm. That will be crucial considering the team hasn’t trained with each other so far this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since we’ve been apart, going out and playing a game with their little brother or their parents isn’t really prepping them for the Big Ten,” Brown said.

But the Hawkeyes are optimistic that they will find their rhythm and improve this upcoming season.

“I think that we are going to do a lot this season,” Orr said. “I think we’re going to have a winning record and make it to the NCAA tournament. We’re excited for this year.”

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