DES MOINES, Iowa – A $4.175 million settlement has been reached in a discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa and the state Board of Regents.

The Iowa Board of Appeal, comprised of three heads of state departments, will vote on whether to accept the settlement Monday afternoon.

The lawsuit was filed in 2020, by 12 Black University of Iowa football players who claimed they were harassed and discriminated against because of their race.

Documents detailing the proposed settlement were made available Monday morning and outline that $2 million of the $4.175 million would be paid from the state’s General Fund. Also part of the settlement:

  • The university agrees to commit $90,000 to support graduate school expenses for the plaintiffs
  • Mental health counseling will be provided for the plaintiffs for 1 year
  • The university will provide registration fees/travel expenses for up to 10 student-athletes to participate in the annual Black Student Athlete Summit each year through 2026
  • The university will hire Dr. Leaonard Moore to assist with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic plan

WHO 13 reached out to the University of Iowa Athletics Department for comment on the proposed settlement. The following statement was provided Monday morning:

“The Athletic Department remains committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for every student-athlete and staff member involved in our program. The Hawkeyes over-arching goal to win every time we compete, graduate every student-athlete that comes to Iowa, and to do it right, remains our focus.”

Gary Barta, the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair

State Auditor Rob Sand has already indicated he will vote against the settlement unless current Athletic Director Gary Barta is no longer employed by the university. He urged the other members of the board, State Treasurer Roby Smith and Kraig Paulsen the director of the state’s Management and Revenue departments, to vote against the settlement as well.

“Under Gary Barta’s leadership at the University of Iowa Athletics Department, we’ve had Peter Gray scandal plus three instances of discrimination totaling nearly $7 million in damages (setting aside other suits). After the largest settlement, Barta asserted no wrong was done. Now We have a new matter for $4 million more, and for the first time they want part paid from the taxpayers’ General Fund, even though they now collect tens of millions annually thru the Big Ten TV deal.”

Rob Sand, State Auditor