It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these, so I’m going to try and fit a lot in here. Please forgive me if I miss anything.
First and foremost, let’s get into some things we gleaned from an Iowa football media opportunity yesterday:
The start times for three of Iowa’s home games have been announced: the season opener against Wyoming on Sept. 2 will be at 11 am, North Texas on Sept. 16 is at 2:30 pm, and homecoming against Illinois on Oct. 7 is also at 11 am.
That means Penn State, Minnesota and Ohio State could possibly be night games. But it’s likely we won’t know 12 days before those games happen, per Mark Emmert quoting Gary Barta:
“I’m not going to be able to go to the Big Ten and get that differently. I don’t know that Penn State, Ohio State or Minnesota are going to be night games, but I know at least a couple of those probably are,” he predicted. “You can get your crystal ball out, pretend you’re a TV executive for a minute and decide which one of those you might pick for a night game and probably have a pretty good idea, even though you can’t confirm it until later.”
Speaking of Barta, it seemed like not so long ago that we were starting to hammer the metaphorical nails in his proverbial coffin following the verdict of the Jane Meyer trial and the settlement of the Tracey Griesbaum litigation.
According to Chad Leistikow, however, Barta is here to stay:
He stands by the August 2014 firing of Griesbaum, the field hockey coach who remains responsible for delivering Iowa's last Big Ten title in any women's sport (2008).
He certainly stands by the December 2014 decision to reassign Meyer to a position outside athletics.
It was the circumstances that led to those decisions that caused Barta to cough up about two-thirds of the athletics department reserves to settle with Meyer, Griesbaum and their talented Des Moines attorneys.
With its silence, the university is clearly standing behind Barta.
“President Harreld has been behind me 100 percent since he arrived,” Barta said. “He knew when he took the job (in fall 2015) about this situation. He talked to a lot of people about it, to find out what happened, how it happened. And he’s been supportive from Day 1.”
Barta said he doesn’t regret his decisions re: the decisions that led to the Meyer and Griesbaum trials, so do what you will with that information.
If you’re wondering why Barta is still in this position after more or less costing the university over $7 million in legal and settlement fees, well he provided an answer for that question too:
Barta revealed that this has been a record year for fundraising in Iowa athletics: $48 million strong. That’s more than seven times what the department forked over in the settlement.
And there you have it. On the surface, Barta is running the athletic department in the black, and that’s why he’s still got a job. Money talks. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Jeremiah Davis and others echoed Leistikow’s sentiment on Barta keeping his head above water following a scandal that would probably can 97 percent of athletic directors in college. But is he a “survivor”? I’m not so sure. Being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time? Certainly.
Josey Jewell, Matt VandeBerg and Sean Welsh are your Iowa Hawkeyes representing the team at Big Ten media days next month. You’ll notice Akrum Wadley is absent from that list, for some reason.
Akrum Wadley on not getting the nod for B1G Media Days: “Did I want to go? I mean, why not? Who wouldn’t want to go? But it is what it is.”— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) July 11, 2017
Iowa isn’t the only team sending its best offensive playmaker to Chicago, either:
No Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley, J.T. Barrett, Akrum Wadley. https://t.co/4W7XVWQde7— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) July 11, 2017
Naturally, there was a dumb column from a dumb newspaper that says this shows the weakness of the Big Ten, stating the B1G commissioner Jim Delany, and not the schools, should have final say over who gets sent to media days.
While it would be nice to see McSorley and Wadley and the like at media days as a former sports reporter who attended the event myself, I think that there’s a reason coaches aren’t sending these players, and that’s sort of where the discussion starts and ends.
While we’re talking about Wadley, he’s been making some headlines on the national scale as of late:
The NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein pegs Akrum Wadley as the No. 6 running back to watch this season.
Pro Football Focus says Wadley is the most elusive running back in college, whatever that means.
Iowa RB Akrum Wadley is the most elusive returning back from a season ago.— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) July 10, 2017
Can he even increase his elusive rating in 2017? pic.twitter.com/qJQ0wEOjV8
Dochterman also had a nice little write-up on Wadley, where he says he traces his most embarrassing moment—and perhaps the reason why he was in Kirk’s doghouse—from a practice that happened a few years ago.
For all your Iowa basketball-related news, please see BoilerHawk’s PTL roundup from earlier today.
Iowa baseball started practicing for the National Baseball Congress World Series for later this month, which we’ll write up later.
Former Iowa baseball players look to be enjoying themselves, though:
There’s also whispers Heller could be looking at a contract extension sometime very, very soon.
Now we get to talk shit about the University of Minnesota athletic department, which is something I always try and take time out of my day to do.
You probably heard the school sold the naming rights of its Mariucci Arena. Named after Minnesota hockey legend John Mariucci (fun fact he also has the record for longest fight in the NHL while he was captain of the Chicago Blackhawks) the school sold the naming rights to 3M for a pittance.
The hockey rink will now be called 3M Arena at Mariucci, which is dumb. People will surely still call it Mariucci, but what seems so dumb to me is the sale price. The naming deal lasts 14 years and cost 3M just over $11 million. That’s under a million a year to name the Arena that often hosts the most successful and popular team in town.
That’s not even a drop in the bucket for an athletic department that’s about to bring in $42.5 million in just TV revenue alone next year.
In a town that boasts US Bank Stadium, Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium and Excel Energy Center, The Barn and Mariucci were points of pride. This is really, really, dumb, Minnesota.