Lawmaker calls for dismissal of Hawkeye athletics director
DES MOINES — A state senator is calling for the dismissal of the Director of Athletics at the University of Iowa.
Republican Senator Annette Sweeney of Alden said the more than $4 million legal settlement to former black players who alleged there was racial discrimination in the football program is a boondoggle. “We’ve got a stench hanging over our great university and it’s called Gary Barta,” Sweeney said. “In 16 years of his tenure, he has cost the university millions of dollars.”
Sweeney, in a speech on the Iowa Senate floor, cited three previous payouts in discrimination lawsuits over other Hawkeye sports. And Sweeney said Barta and others involved in negotiations in this latest case ignored the wishes of coaches who were fighting the allegations.
“These discussions took place entirely without the knowledge or consent of the coaches who were even named in the lawsuit,” Sweeney said. “…How incompetent! Not letting people defend themselves?…This was despicable.”
Sweeney, a farmer who served as state director for USDA Rural Development during the Trump Administration, said it’s time for accountability. She’s calling on the University of Iowa’s president to ask for Barta’s resignation and, if he doesn’t resign, Sweeney says Barta should be fired.
“We need to review the Regents budget and hold it until the stench over Iowa City is dismissed,” she said.
The Board of Regents governs the University of Iowa and the other two state universities. Two million dollars of the settlement announced Monday is being covered with state tax dollars, which has raised the ire of Sweeney and other lawmakers.