Iowa Will Not Revisit Sports Cuts Despite Return of Football

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Iowa plays Penn State during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Kinnick Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa. Penn State won 17-12. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa says the Big Ten’s decision to have a fall football season will not impact its decision to eliminate four sports programs.

Athletic Director Gary Barta last month announced the elimination of men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and men’s gymnastics. He said the cuts were “100% driven by” the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the postponement of football for safety reasons and tens of millions in lost revenue.

“Were it not for that, we would not be dropping those four sports,” Barta said at an Aug. 24 news conference.

On Wednesday, the Big Ten announced that Iowa and the other teams in the conference would have a fall football season beginning in late October. Within hours, alumni of the Hawkeye programs that were cut held a news conference to again call for their reinstatement.

On Wednesday night, Iowa’s athletics department issued a statement rejecting that call. The department said that football’s return will cause increased costs for coronavirus testing and other safety protocols, and that any remaining revenue will be used to help finance its operations.

The department said that its decision to cut the sports is “final” and has been supported by the Board of Regents.

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