Iowa athletics responds to Bruce Harreld's construction-project moratorium: 'Disappointed'

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

On the day it announced a $480,003 surplus for the football team’s appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl, the Iowa athletic department answered questions about what the university’s recent construction-project moratorium means for Hawkeye sports.

Matt Henderson, senior associate athletic director, told the Des Moines Register on Friday that while the department was “disappointed” in delaying a $10.8 million clubhouse project at Finkbine Golf Course, it was supportive of President Bruce Harreld’s plan to offset $5.49 million of budget cuts enacted by the Iowa legislature.

Harreld told the state’s Board of Regents on Thursday that planned campus projects — more than 100 of them, university sources said — would be put on hold for at least five months. Projects already in progress, such as the North End Zone reconstruction at Kinnick Stadium, are unaffected.

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, left, chats with Athletic Director Gary Barta before the Hawkeyes' game against Ohio State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.

“While we don’t receive general-fund dollars in athletics, we’re fully supportive of the university’s initiative as it tries to manage through this budget reduction,” Henderson said, adding he was “confident that this five-month delay won’t … impact our current collegiate teams.”

Even though the Finkbine project was fully funded by private dollars, it was included the moratorium. Construction was expected to start next month.

“We are happy to be part of a great institution,” Henderson said. “So we will continue to work together with the institution moving forward.”

Also on the athletic department’s master plan was improvements to facilities in wrestling, softball and baseball. Most notably, Iowa had received Regents approval to explore the feasibility of a standalone wrestling facility near Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Because that program was in the initial stages, the moratorium has no real affect.

Henderson noted that internal discussions on the wrestling facility were ongoing, and that the key to making that become a reality was continued fund-raising — which obviously will continue.

“Funding models are critical to any capital project moving forward,” Henderson said, “and that includes wrestling.”

The moratorium goes through Sept. 12, but could be extended, Harreld said Thursday. Certainly the situation merits monitoring.

As for the football surplus, that came from the Big Ten Conference payout ($2,225,000) minus expenses for the Dec. 27 game in New York City.

The breakdown of football team and staff expenses: Lodging and meals ($707,639), air transportation ($307,679) and ground transportation ($45,079). The marching band reported expenses of $378,660 and the UI official travel party spent $42,067.