Iowa AD Gary Barta supported fall football season

Barta said Monday that he was in favor of delaying the season rather than postponing it, which the Big Ten did Aug. 11.

University+of+Iowa+athletic+director+Gary+Barta+discusses+former+Iowa+basketball+player+Megan+Gustafson%27s+career+during+the+retirement+ceremony+for+her+number+10+jersey+following+the+Iowa+women%27s+basketball+game+against+Michigan+State+University+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+26%2C+2020+at+Caver-Hawkeye+Arena.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Spartans%2C+74-57.

Emily Wangen

University of Iowa athletic director Gary Barta discusses former Iowa basketball player Megan Gustafson’s career during the retirement ceremony for her number 10 jersey following the Iowa women’s basketball game against Michigan State University on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 at Caver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 74-57.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor


In his first media conference since the Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 that fall sports in the conference were postponed due to ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said Monday he was in favor of delaying the football season rather than postponing it.

The Big Ten’s new football schedule had been released on Aug. 5, and Barta said he thought it allowed the conference to push the start of the season back and wait longer to make a final decision, in hopes that a fall season could take place.

“We had created a schedule starting on Sept. 5,” Barta said on a video conference Monday. “It could have been pushed probably all the way to the first week in October to wait longer. To see if we could solve the issues related to COVID-19 that we didn’t have answers to yet.”

Barta said that the Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors voted to postpone the fall sports seasons on Aug. 11. He said he and other athletic directors were not in the room when the decision was made.

The exact vote from the Presidents has not been made public.

“I’m not prepared or qualified to say who voted which way, and I don’t think there’s an intention for that to become public,” Barta said. “But once the vote occurred, even though I disagreed maybe with some of the tactics, I’m a part of a great conference so immediately, we started to talk about, ‘OK, what do we have to do to get back to playing sports as fast as possible, safely?’”

Barta said University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld was also pushing for the season to take place this fall. Harreld has not publicly stated how he voted or the reasoning behind his vote.

RELATED: Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren says conference’s decision to postpone fall sports ‘will not be revisited’

Harreld released a comment following the Big Ten’s decision saying it was a disappointing day, but that the conference came to a “collective decision” through debate and dialogue.

“He was aligned with me in working toward trying to push this as late as we could before a decision had to be made,” Barta said.

The decision by the Big Ten has been subject to criticism.

Athletes from around the conference voiced on social media that they wanted to play in the fall and believed the medical protocols of their programs were safe. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields created a petition urging the Big Ten to reconsider. That petition has over 300,000 signatures.

Parents of Iowa football players wrote a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren and the Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors asking for more transparency from the conference regarding its decision. Parents from other schools in the conference did the same.

Warren released an open letter on Aug. 19 in which he said the Big Ten’s decision will not be reconsidered.

The Pac-12 also announced Aug. 11 that fall sports were postponed, but took things a step further and said no sports will be played in the conference until Jan. 1, 2020.

The ACC, Big 12, and SEC are all currently set to compete in sports this fall. Though that could end up being only in football, as the NCAA has announced that fall championships will not be held in the fall due to COVID-19, and could instead be held in the spring. This does not include FBS football.

Seeing other conferences compete in a college football season this fall while the Big Ten is on the sidelines would be difficult, Barta said.

“Every Saturday, if that occurs, would be gut wrenching as a student athlete, as a coach, as an athletic director, and as a Hawkeye fan,” Barta said. “I certainly don’t wish ill on anybody. I wish we could play as soon as possible. I want us to play as soon as possible. But I’ll just have to see if that happens.”

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