Gary Barta, the longtime director of athletics at the University of Iowa, is expected to announce his retirement on Friday, according to sources. According to insiders, he’s set to retire on August 1.
Barta, 59, has been Iowa’s athletic director for 17 years, making him the Big Ten conference’s second-longest-tenured AD behind Ohio State’s Gene Smith.
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As a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee for three years that just ended, Barta had a significant influence in college athletics generally. 2020 and 2021 saw him in the chairmanship of the CFP committee.
During his tenure, he enjoyed considerable on-field success. His Iowa bio states that since the autumn of 2020, the institution has won 11 Big Ten championships. The women’s basketball team from Iowa, captained by Caitlin Clark, competed for the national championship in 2023.
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The men’s basketball team at Iowa has won at least 20 games each of the previous four seasons, and in the 2021–22 season, they won the Big Ten tournament.
Under coach Kirk Ferentz, the football team has produced 10 straight winning campaigns. Among such accomplishments was the team’s 2015 campaign, which saw them qualify for the Rose Bowl and play in the Big Ten championship game. In 2021, the Hawkeyes competed for the Big Ten championship as well.
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Barta’s tenure included numerous high-profile litigation off the field, which resulted in Iowa paying out more than $10 million since 2017. Among them was a $4 million settlement for a group of Black former Iowa football players who had sued the school for discrimination. A $6.5 million settlement for the termination of a former field hockey coach also occurred in 2017. In a discrimination claim, a former senior athletic director also received $1.4 million in damages in 2017.
Within the college athletics community, Barta’s retirement is not particularly shocking. Beth Goetz, who was already the athletic director at Ball State, was appointed by the university in September 2022 to serve as the deputy athletic director and chief operational officer.