Will Drew Ott be back in black and gold next season? Or will he be gone, chasing his dream in the NFL? It's the story that never dies -- mainly because nothing ever happens. Ott filed paperwork with the Big Ten to apply for a medical-hardship waiver and a fifth year of football eligibility three months (!) ago. After Iowa's season wrapped up with a Rose Bowl loss last month, the chatter was that a decision about Ott's waiver would be made at the meeting of the Big Ten's academics and eligibility subcommittee this week in Rosemont, Ill.
Well, that subcommittee did hold their meetings this week -- but apparently they never got to the "Drew Ott" portion of their agenda, because our favorite whole egg-eating defensive lineman is still twisting in the wind. Chad Leistikow of Hawk Central passed along word from Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman:
"Our meetings concluded earlier today, and at this time, we have no update," he wrote. "But feel free to check back in the coming weeks."
"Feel free to check back in" is the sort of half-assed vague comment you expect to get from a bored customer service representative, but maybe that's where the Big Ten is recruiting their PR flacks from these days. The end result is that we still know just as much about Ott's future as we did a month ago (or two months ago), which is a whole lot of nothing.
Kirk Ferentz expressed some guarded optimism about Ott's odds of getting the redshirt year when he spoke to the press on National Signing Day earlier in the month, but it's hard to know if the constant delays and lack of progress in the process represent good news or bad news -- or if they plain represent no news at all. The longer the process drags on, the more frustrating it becomes, primarily for Ott, but also for Iowa.
Ott himself is expected to be at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind. this week. He can attend and participate in that event without having it negatively impact his eligibility at Iowa so long as he a) doesn't sign with an agent and b) doesn't accept any of the free gifts available to attendees ("improper benefits," yo). Of course, the one thing he can't do is actually, you know, physically work out for teams -- he is still recovering from serious knee and elbow injuries that required surgeries (and necessitated this whole medical hardship waiver/redshirt year hullabaloo in the first place).
So we wait. And wait. And wait. It's also worth remembering that we're still just waiting on the Big Ten to issue a decision at this junction; if they rule against Ott, he can still appeal his case to the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee. And we all know how speedily the wheels of NCAA decision-making turn. (But, hey, at least they're cracking down on coaches subtweeting about recruits, so they've got their priorities in order.) We'll provide updates to this story whenever they become available.