Iowa volleyball coach Bond Shymansky on administrative leave for 'significant' NCAA violation

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa volleyball coach Bond Shymansky has been placed on 30-day paid administrative leave for what athletics director Gary Barta called a “significant” NCAA violation.

Barta addressed the violation at Monday’s press conference, saying the investigation is ongoing with assistance from an outside firm. Barta said the allegations of a violation were brought to light by a former student-athlete on May 1. Iowa then informed the NCAA.

Iowa volleyball head coach Bond Shymansky speaks to reporters during Iowa volleyball media day on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

“Our associate AD for compliance Lyla Clerry was involved, and she began a process,” Barta said. “Part of that process was informing Bond’s direct supervisor — deputy athletics director Barbara Burke — and then, of course, I was informed.

“I then went across the river, figuratively, and informed the general counsel, the president’s office to just let them know that we had learned of these allegations. On May 3, the vice president and general counsel — Carroll Reasoner — began a conversation with an outside law firm to do an external investigation.”

The university is paying an outside lawyer $280 per hour to investigate the NCAA violations. The firm — Bond, Schoeneck & King — came to Iowa’s campus and began its investigation on May 6, Barta said. Although the investigation isn't concluded, Barta felt the evidence uncovered so far warranted the administrative leave.

“Because we’ve now notified the NCAA, we will work closely with them,” Barta said. “We’ll cooperate fully, but they’ll now begin their investigative process. Based on the information I’ve learned to this point, I’m confident no other staff member or student-athlete was either involved in this violation or aware.”

When asked for details — specifically, if it was a recruiting or financial violation — Barta cited the ongoing investigation as a reason not to expand. Barta did say he expects the violation to be considered “Level 1” or “Level 2” by the NCAA’s violation structure.

He added that no law enforcement is involved at this time.  

The NCAA defines a “Level 1” violation as a “severe breach of conduct” or “violations that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model as set forth in the Constitution and bylaws, including any violation that provides or is intended to provide a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage, or a substantial or extensive impermissible benefit.”

The NCAA defines a “Level 2” violation as a “significant breach of conduct” or “violations that provide or are intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage; includes more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive impermissible benefit; or involves conduct that may compromise the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model as set forth in the Constitution and bylaws.”

“I’m comfortable enough to say that everybody who works in college athletics is very familiar with where this line is that can’t be crossed,” Barta said.

Associate head coach Vicki Brown will be the interim coach until a conclusion is reached. Barta said he has also reached out to incoming recruits regarding the situation. The Hawkeyes’ 2019 class was ranked 24th by prepvolleyball.com. The ranking is Iowa's highest in the program's history.

Shymansky, who was named the Iowa coach in 2014, is 78-82 leading the Hawkeyes, including 15-16 last season. His contract runs through 2022.

“It’s a difficult day,” Barta said. “There are a lot of emotions — anger, sadness. (Our saying is) Win, Graduate, Do It Right. Clearly, in this case, (Shymansky) came up short in ‘Do It Right.’”

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.