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The Iowa athletics director met with media Tuesday morning at the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

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Iowa athletics director Gary Barta is returning his scheduled $50,000 raise to the department, the university announced Friday.

The move, according to the UI, was voluntary by Barta in an effort to shore up the athletic department's bottom line. 

Barta was scheduled to receive a base-salary pay raise to $600,000 as of July 1, but instead will maintain his annual salary of $550,000 for another year. The amendment, which was distributed to the Des Moines Register and other media, was signed in June by Barta and UI president Bruce Harreld.

In a statement, Harreld said the move "is not a reflection of (Barta's) performance or our support for his leadership. Athletic departments across the Big Ten are facing new challenges and headwinds, and I’m proud to have an athletic director so committed to the success of our student-athletes and his team."

Barta notably was at the front of two high-profile discrimination lawsuits that resulted in the Iowa athletics department forking over a $6.5 million settlement (to former associate athletic director Jane Meyer and former field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum and their attorneys) in May 2017.

Barta is still scheduled to receive a pay raise to $600,000 annually on July 1, 2019. His contract as athletics director runs through June 30, 2021.

Iowa gives Rick Heller hefty pay raise

Also announced Friday, Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller is getting a pay increase.

Heller's contract length runs through the 2024 season, as it did when he signed an extension in December. But his base salary for the 2018-19 season was bumped to $325,000 — an increase of $63,000, or 24 percent, from his previously scheduled $262,000. 

Also, Heller's base pay (not including performance bonuses) was upped from $275,000 to $341,000 for the 2019-20 season.

The terms of Heller's latest contract, which was signed in June, were obtained by the Des Moines Register through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Heller was mentioned as a possibility for an opening at Kansas State in the offseason and continues to be a hot coaching name. He has led Iowa to an average of 34.6 wins in his five seasons.

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