It’s now been three months since Iowa senior defensive end Drew Ott said he filed paperwork to apply for a medical-hardship waiver for a fifth year of football eligibility. As of Tuesday afternoon, he was still waiting for a verdict.
A decision was anticipated Tuesday, when the Big Ten Conference’s academics and eligibility subcommittee convened in Rosemont, Ill.
League spokesman Scott Chipman, asked specifically about Ott’s situation, replied in an email that there was no news to report.
“Our meetings concluded earlier today, and at this time, we have no update,” he wrote. “But feel free to check back in the coming weeks.”
So Ott continues to wait and rehab following surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee and reconstructive left elbow surgery.
Ott’s mother, Sheree, told the Register on Tuesday that the family hasn’t heard anything. Her son's future is in limbo. Ott holds an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine, which is being held this week in Indianapolis. Although Ott wouldn't be able to work out with other defensive linemen on Saturday, he could at least sell himself to NFL teams via team interviews.
“It’s been kind of tough,” Sheree Ott said. “A little bit stressful, too, because nobody knows what his future is going to be or where he is going to be next fall, or even this summer.”
Ott’s case is unique, because although he participated in more than the maximum 30 percent of Iowa’s games (six of 14) to qualify for a medical redshirt, he only played two full games. He suffered the serious elbow injury in the first quarter of Iowa’s second game, Sept. 12 against Iowa State. After returning for a full game Oct. 3 against Wisconsin, he tore up his knee the following week against Illinois and had season-ending surgery 12 days later.
On Feb. 3, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he was “a little bit more optimistic (about the redshirt). But still, it’s hard to say where it’s going to go.”
Reached Tuesday, the UI athletics department could only confirm that the Big Ten hadn't acted on Ott's situation. So nobody's hiding an answer. There's no news. The wait continues.
If Ott does lose his case with the Big Ten, he can appeal to the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee.