Barta: Iowa has not been contacted about NCAA men's basketball scandal

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Thursday that neither the federal government nor the NCAA has contacted the university regarding a national investigation into corruption, bribery and wire fraud in men’s basketball.

Barta is confident that the Hawkeyes will not be involved in the probe, which so far has led to charges against four major-college assistant basketball coaches and to the firing of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.

“It’s horrible for the profession, but I’m a glass-half-full person and so if this is what it takes to clean things up … then we’ll get through it,” Barta said at the monthly meeting of Iowa’s Presidential Committee on Athletics.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta

Barta said his first call after hearing the news of the investigation Sept. 26 was to Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery.

“Not to ask him, ‘Are we OK,’ because I knew we were OK,” Barta said. “But just to talk about what this means to our profession and how discouraging it is.”

Barta later told reporters that he is confident Iowa won’t be implicated “because I believe in Fran and his integrity.”

The FBI investigation centers around player agents, the athletic apparel company Adidas and a handful of prominent college programs, including Arizona, USC, Auburn and Oklahoma State.

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Iowa has an apparel contract with Nike, which was extended last summer through July 31, 2026. That deal provided the Hawkeyes with a $4 million “commitment bonus” and pays the university $350,000 annually. McCaffery gets an additional $150,000 a year for as long as he’s coach. The company also is giving Iowa $3 million in gear this year.

Barta said he is happy to continue the partnership with Nike.

“Our contract with the shoe company is very transparent. We’ve had a great relationship with Nike for a long, long time,” he said. “We’ve been enticed and approached by other shoe companies over the years, but we like our partnership with Nike because it’s great service, great relationship, longtime trust. So I’m very comfortable.”

Barta also said he sees no reason to change any recruiting practices in men’s basketball.

“We’re not perfect and we make mistakes, so I’m not trying to paint a picture that’s perfect,” Barta said. “But I do know we have people here who want to do it the right way.”