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Iowa volleyball coach fired for ‘major violation of NCAA rules’

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Bond Shymansky’s violation includes intentionally providing an impermissible benefit

UI Athletic Department
UI Athletic Department

Iowa volleyball coach Bond Shymansky has been fired according to a media release sent out by the university’s athletic department.

Shymansky, who was named the head coach for the Hawkeyes on Feb. 3, 2014, had his contract terminated due to providing impermissible benefits to a prospective student-athlete. That now-former student-athlete, who was not named, went on to play for Iowa.

This saga started in the spring with the aforementioned student-athlete contacted the Iowa athletic department about the potential violation. An outside investigative firm (Bond, Schoeneck & King) was brought in on May 3 to begin looking into the situation.

On May 20, Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta held a press conference announcing that Shymansky had been put on 30-day administrative leave while the university concluded its investigation.

The details in the release do not mention what level the NCAA violation was, though it is likely a Level 1 or Level 2 depending on how much said impermissible benefit was worth. The NCAA itself was contacted on May 20 about Shymansky being put on administrative leave.

Wednesday’s release stated that the school had ‘self-reported the violation to the NCAA and is cooperating in the process.’ Barta’s only quote in the release was in direct reference to the self-reporting of the violation.

“We take NCAA violations very seriously, and have acted in a fair and decisive manner,” Barta said in the release. “We will continue to work with the NCAA in regard to our self-report to reach a conclusion in this matter as swiftly as possible.”

Iowa also said in the release that since the NCAA is still in the process of investigating it will not comment further on Shymansky’s dismissal. It could be weeks or months before the college athletics ruling body hands down a punishment.

It’s hard to speculate exactly what that punishment will look like, but a postseason ban or a loss of scholarships could very much be in the picture.

Shymansky — an Iowa City native — went 78-83 over five seasons as the Hawkeyes head coach. Iowa has not been relevant in the Big Ten for years and even a near .500 record over that period was a definite win for the program.

Iowa associated head coach Vicki Brown, who was named interim head coach on May 20, will coach the Hawkeyes for the 2019-20 season.

With whatever the NCAA plans to hand down, the path to relevance looks more difficult than ever.

In all, this scandal is yet another embarrassing moment in a long history of head-scratchers over the past few years at Iowa. And, per the norm, it is the athletes that will end up suffering more than anyone else. One only hopes they will be allowed to transfer with immediate eligibility if they choose to leave.