Iowa athletics director Gary Barta retires.
Iowa announced Friday morning that Barta will step down from his position effective August 1 after 17 years in Iowa City.
Barta, whose contract expired in June 2024, was one of the country’s longest-serving athletic directors. 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 humbled to have worked alongside and on behalf of so many student-athletes, coaches, staffers, donors, fans and community leaders over the past two decades,” Barta said.
The Hawkeyes have consistently succeeded in sports such as soccer, wrestling, and men’s and women’s basketball during Barta’s tenure, but the athletic department has faced a series of controversies in recent years.
In March, a $4 million settlement was reached in a lawsuit brought against the university in 2020 by a group of black former Iowa football players alleging discrimination and assault 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 hockey coach and a $1.4 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by a former senior associate athletic director.
In addition, criticism of favoritism 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 consistently been one of the worst teams in the country on that side of the ball .
And recently, a sports betting investigation is currently underway involving 111 individuals, including 26 current Iowa athletes from baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, and wrestling.
“This decision did not come suddenly, nor did it come without much thought, discussion and prayer. As I’ve been thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s never a good time to step away…because there’s always more to do. Having said that, I am sure that now is the right time for me and for my family,” said Barta.
According to multiple outlets, Beth Goetz is being considered as a potential candidate to take on the role of athletic director. Goetz was hired by Iowa in September 2022 as deputy athletic director and chief operating officer. She previously served as athletic director at Ball State.
Iowa said an interim athletic director will be named next week.