Hawkeyes request $4.2 million to settle football discrimination case
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The University of Iowa Athletic Department is requesting a state panel approve a $4.2 million settlement, including $2 million from the state general fund, to settle a discrimination lawsuit from Black former football players.
State Auditor Rob Sand released details of the request Monday as a member of the State Appeal Board, which must approve pay and legal claims against the state. State Treasurer Roby Smith and Department of Management Director Kraig Paulsen are the other members of the board who will meet Monday to vote on the settlement.
20 former Black Iowa Hawkeye football players filed the discrimination lawsuit in 2020 claiming, among other things, the Hawkeye Athletic Department created a culture that suppressed Black athletes in favor of White athletes and enabled racial discrimination. Just last week, a judge removed several individuals from that lawsuit, including Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta and Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz.
“The Athletic Department remains committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for every student-athlete and staff member involved in our program,” said Gary Barta, the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair in response to the settlement. “The Hawkeyes over-arching goal to win every time we compete, graduate every student-athlete that comes to Iowa, and to do it right, remains our focus.”
Auditor Sand said he will vote against the settlement, citing several discrimination lawsuits against the Hawkeye Athletic Department under Gary Barta’s tenure and the use of money from the General Fund instead of the Athletic Department’s funds.
In a note to the other appeal board members, Sand wrote:
"Under Gary Barta’s leadership at the University of Iowa Athletics Department, we’ve had Peter
Gray scandal plus three instances of discrimination totaling nearly $7 million in damages (setting
aside other suits). After the largest settlement, Barta asserted no wrong was done. Now we have
a new matter for $4 million more, and for the first time they want part paid from the taxpayers’
General Fund, even though they now collect tens of millions annually thru the Big Ten TV deal.
Enough is enough. Clear personal accountability is necessary. I will not support taxpayers
funding this settlement unless Gary Barta is no longer employed at the University and forfeits
any severance or similar pay. I encourage you to join me. Real accountability will help prevent
discrimination, protecting both taxpayers and future victims.”
*Editor’s Note: A previous version incorrectly stated the settlment at $7 million. The settlement is for $4.2 million.
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