IOWA CITY, Ia. — Injured Iowa senior wide receiver Matt VandeBerg could miss the rest of the football season, but his Hawkeye career is likely to continue.
Assuming he wants to return for another year, VandeBerg would mathematically qualify for a medical-hardship waiver as long as he doesn't play again this season.
VandeBerg, who has 106 career receptions, played in Iowa's first four games this season. According to the NCAA, to qualify for a medical redshirt, a player must satisfy two primary requirements: 1) The injury must occur in the first half of the season (VandeBerg's did); 2) He must not play in more than 30 percent of the team's scheduled games.
The second one would seem to be tricky, but the language in Article 18.104.22.168.6.2 within the NCAA handbook states that the computation "shall be rounded to the next whole number." Because VandeBerg would have played in four of the scheduled 13 regular-season games (the Big Ten Conference title game counts, regardless if Iowa plays in it), he is at, but not over, the limit. For NCAA purposes, 30 percent is equal to 3.9 games and would round up to four.
A Big Ten spokesman confirmed to the Des Moines Register, without citing VandeBerg's case specifically, that an athlete with such circumstances would qualify.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that the Hawkeyes "might have a chance, bowl-game time" to get VandeBerg back on the field. But if he doesn't make it back, Ferentz indicated that the native of Brandon, S.D., would apply for a fifth year.
“That would be something that we would most definitely appeal if Matt’s interested in that," Ferentz said. "We haven’t gotten that far. This has all happened so quickly. As you might imagine, we’ll do everything we can to try to have Matt stay here.
“My guess is without asking him is that he would want that. After that, it’s up to the appeal process. Based on past experience and observation, I sure wouldn’t want to try to predict that whole thing. Hopefully it would work out for him.”
VandeBerg recorded the third-most receptions (65) in an Iowa season in 2015, and this fall was far and away the Hawkeyes’ leader with 19 grabs for 284 yards and three touchdowns.