Iowa AD Gary Barta announces retirement after 17 years at Big Ten school

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa athletic director Gary Barta will retire on August 1 after 17 years at the university, the school announced Friday.

Barta, 59, is one of the longest-tenured athletic directors in a Power Five conference. He was hired by Iowa in 2006 after being the AD at Wyoming.

An interim director will be announced next week, Iowa said.

In September, Iowa hired former Ball State athletic director Beth Goetz to be deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer, putting her in position to possibly succeed Barta.

“It has been an absolute privilege and honor to serve in this role the past 17 years,” Barta said in a statement. “This decision didn’t come suddenly, nor did it come without significant thought, discussion, and prayer.”

“That said, I’m confident this is the right time for me and for my family.”

Iowa won four NCAA national team titles and 27 Big Ten team titles during Barta’s tenure. The women’s basketball team is coming off an appearance in the national championship game and the wrestling team is coming off a second-place finish at the NCAA championships.

Barta served as the chairman of the College Football Playoff committee in 2020 and 2021.

He faced heavy criticism over more than $11 million in settlements for lawsuits in recent years alleging racial and sexual discrimination within the athletic department.

Lawsuits filed by former field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum and associate athletics director Jane Meyer led to a $6.5 million payout.

Iowa had to pay $400,000 as part of a Title IX lawsuit brought by athletes after it cut four sports in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the agreement, Iowa reinstated the women’s swimming and diving program and add another women’s sport.

Iowa added women’s wrestling, the first among Power Five schools to compete this year.

A lawsuit brought by former football players alleging racial discrimination within the program was settled for $4.2 million last March, which prompted state auditor Rob Sand to call for Barta’s ouster.

“Gary Barta’s departure is a long time coming given the four different lawsuits for discrimination that cost Iowa more than $11 million,” Sand posted on Twitter.

The university did not allow taxpayer money to be used for the settlement with the former players.

Barta led Iowa through $380 million of facility upgrades, including renovation of Kinnick Stadium, the construction of a new football facility, a basketball practice facility and a training center for the wrestling teams.

Under Barta, Iowa has had just one head football coach (Kirk Ferentz), women’s basketball coach (Lisa Bluder) and wrestling coach (Tom Brands). All were in place when he arrived.

Barta has also come under scrutiny for allowing Ferentz to employee his son, Brian Ferentz, as offensive coordinator. To comply with the university’s nepotism policy, Brian Ferentz reports to Barta.

Schembechler son resigns at Michigan after offensive social media activity revealed

michigan schembechler
Rich Graessle/Getty Image
1 Comment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A son of longtime Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler has resigned from his position with the Wolverines, with the school saying it was aware of his social media activity that may have caused “pain” in the community.

Glenn “Shemy” Schembechler stepped down Saturday, just days after he had been hired as assistant director of recruiting on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff.

The Detroit News reported Saturday that Schembechler’s Twitter feed contained posts and likes of offensive material, including some that suggested slavery and Jim Crow were positives to strengthen Black individuals and families.

“We are aware of some comments and likes on social media that have caused concern and pain for individuals in our community,” Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “Michigan Athletics is fully committed to a place where our coaches, staff and student-athletes feel welcome and where we fully support the University’s and Athletic Department’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Schembechler played for his father, who coached Michigan from 1969-89, and was later an NFL scout. In a statement released Sunday night, Schembechler said that his life, and that of his father and family, has been devoted to the best in people, regardless of their race or religion. He said he had “inexplicably and irresponsibly” liked items on social media.

“What I do for a living is far less important than for people to know what is in my heart, and has been … instilled in me by my pioneering father,” said Schembechler’s statement released by the public relations firm of Rose + Allyn. “By inexplicably and irresponsibly liking things on social media I owe an unabashed and unequivocal apology to my hundreds of friends and fellow coaches in the Black community, all communities … . Any words or philosophies that in any way seek to underplay the immeasurable suffering and long-term economic and social inequities that hundreds of years of slavery and the “Jim Crow” era caused for Black Americans is wrong. I was wrong.”

Schembechler went on to apologize “profusely” to anyone he had offended and said he was hoping for “forgiveness based on my expansive life’s work, and not any moment of indiscretion.”

Michigan State CB Charles Brantley withdraws from portal

Nick King/Lansing State Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State cornerback Charles Brantley withdrew from the transfer portal, team spokesman Ben Phlegar said.

Brantley’s return allows coach Mel Tucker to retain a key player after losing a pair of standouts, when quarterback Payton Thorne and receiver Keon Coleman entered the portal.

Brantley started 11 games at cornerback last season, leading the team with six pass breakups and making two interceptions.