Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Barta discusses new contributions in fiscal years 2017 and 2018
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Gary Barta portrait
Gary Barta

As classes begin at the University of Iowa, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is busy preparing to host the nearly one million fans and friends of the institution who attend Iowa sporting events each year. Athletics is one of the most visible parts of the Iowa experience. It brings together all corners of campus with the rallying cry “Go Hawks!,” celebrating the Hawkeye spirit that drives all of our endeavors—from volleyball to vision science, crew to creative writing. We’re honored to carry out that role on our campus.

Over the past 15 months, we’ve had the good fortune to be able to contribute to the university in another important way. The athletic department’s budget is self-sustaining. We use no UI general fund dollars, but instead rely 100 percent on self-generated revenue. Because so many Big Ten teams have more finances at their disposal, we are committed to working harder and smarter to put ourselves in a position to win every contest. In addition to being efficient with what we’ve had in the past, we’re fortunate to have seen an increase in revenue, particularly from television broadcasts, in recent years. This increase has put us in a position to explore even more ways to support the greater university mission.

Shortly after he arrived on campus, President Harreld and I began having discussions about how the athletics department and the wider university could explore additional ways to work together. As state funding has decreased over the years, it has become more apparent one of the ways athletics can assist the university is by helping ease its financial burden. The athletic department has always contributed positively to the university’s bottom line. Last year, more than $23 million was transferred from athletics to central campus in the form of tuition, room and board, medical support, parking, et cetera. Recently, we identified three areas to which we can provide additional support: student wellness, diversity and inclusion, and overall student success. Over the past two years, athletics provided an additional $4 million in direct support to the university ($2 million in fiscal year 2017 and $2 million in FY 2018). These funds help to advance project and initiative efforts supporting all students on our campus. Our plan is to continue to identify additional projects moving forward.

This new initiative is important because beyond competing athletically, we have a commitment and an obligation to promote student success in the classroom. We have positive momentum with many of our teams: Our graduation numbers are at an all-time high—90 percent, according to the NCAA Graduation Success Rate data—and, for the past two years, our overall student-athlete GPA has been at or above 3.0. As dedicated as we are to winning games and titles, we’re just as dedicated to making sure our students are successful in their classes and after they graduate.

Making these financial contributions to the university is a tangible way of demonstrating Hawkeye pride and our commitment to the importance of public higher education. Intercollegiate athletics is nothing without an esteemed university as its foundation.

I’m proud and privileged to serve as Iowa’s director of athletics. We are all committed to the current and future success of this great university.

The best is yet to come...Go Hawks!