Iowa athletic director Gary Barta is retiring.
Iowa announced Friday morning that Barta will step down effective Aug. 1 after 17 years at Iowa City.
Barta, whose contract was due to expire in June 2024, was one of the longest-serving sporting directors in the country. Barta, 59, began his role at Iowa in 2006 and most recently served as chairman of the college football playoff selection committee.
“It has been an absolute privilege and honor to serve in this role for the past 17 years. I am honored to have worked alongside and on behalf of so many student-athletes, coaches, staff, donors, supporters and community leaders over the past two decades,” said Barta.
The Hawkeyes have consistently been successful in sports like soccer, wrestling, and men’s and women’s basketball throughout Barta’s tenure, but the athletic department has faced an array of controversies in recent years.
In March, a $4 million settlement was reached in a 2020 lawsuit filed against the university by a group of black former football players from Iowa who alleged discrimination and misconduct. treatments in the football program under longtime head coach Kirk Ferentz. There was also a $6.5 million settlement in a discrimination lawsuit involving a former women’s field hockey coach and a $1.4 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by a former senior associate athletic director.
Additionally, criticism of nepotism in the football program surrounding Ferentz’s hiring and retention of his son Brian as offensive coordinator has persisted in recent years, especially since the Hawkeyes have always been one of the worst teams in the country on this side of the ball.
And more recently, a sports betting investigation involving 111 people, including 26 current Iowa athletes from baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s track and field and wrestling, is currently underway.
“This decision did not come suddenly, or without significant thought, discussion and prayer. After some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s never a good time to step away…because there’s always more to do. That said, I am convinced that this is the right time for me and for my family,” Barta said.
According to several media, Beth Goetz is considered a potential candidate for the position of athletic director. Goetz was hired by Iowa as assistant athletic director and chief operating officer in September 2022. She previously served as athletic director at Ball State.
Iowa said an interim athletic director will be named next week.