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Barta on Hubbard: ‘We all wanted it to work’

[ 1 ] July 28, 2011 |

CHICAGO – University of Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta would neither confirm nor deny whether Anthony Hubbard was dismissed from the Iowa basketball team earlier this month.

“I stand by what I said,” Barta said Thursday while attending the annual Big Ten football meetings. “He asked for a release. I wanted it to work. We all wanted it to work. And it didn’t.”

Barta also refused to comment when asked if Hubbard, a 6-foot-5 former junior-college all-American, would still be on the team if he hadn’t asked for his release.

“I’m not going to speculate or talk about it,” Barta said. “That’s where it starts and that’s where it ends.”

The Iowa Athletic Department issued a release on July 14 saying Hubbard wanted to transfer to another school perhaps closer to his hometown of Woodbridge, Va.

The announcement came less than a month after Hubbard had told a room full of reporters on June 15 that he felt truly blessed to be a member of the Iowa team.

Hubbard’s recruitment gained a lot of attention because of his being a 26-year-old ex-convict who had spent nearly four years in prison on a robbery charge.

“Anytime somebody decides to transfer, for whatever reason, it’s not a positive thing,” Barta said. “I always feel that way no matter who it is that transfers.

“His recruiting was unique in that, as I said in the press conference, I’ve never had a press conference to welcome somebody to campus. But because it was unique, we decided that was a good idea.”

Despite Hubbard’s troubled past, Barta said at the news conference in June and again on Thursday that Hubbard had no added restrictions.

Hubbard was also allowed to leave Iowa without any conditions or restrictions.

“Once we went through our due diligence in the recruiting process he was subject to the same rules and regulations as any other student under the code,” Barta said. “He didn’t have any other rules that were unique to him throughout the process.”

An online report citing four unnamed sources said Hubbard was dismissed from the team for violating a zero-tolerance policy.

“I hear about rumors,” Barta said. “But one of the things I always do is I’m not going to respond to rumors.

“We sat down with him, we talked through it and he wanted to transfer. So we said yes. And now we’ve moved on to the guys we have on the team.”

Another online report surfaced days after Hubbard left the Iowa team saying that he had spoken to Nebraska officials about transferring there even though its campus is farther from his home than the Iowa campus.

Hubbard picked Iowa over Nebraska in April.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery vouched for Hubbard throughout the recruiting process saying he felt strongly that Hubbard was a changed man and that he deserved a chance.

McCaffery hasn’t spoken to the media since Hubbard left other than issuing a statement saying how disappointed he was because of the time and energy spent recruiting Hubbard.

“Fran’s disappointed as well, but the day after he moved on,” Barta said. “He’s been on the road recruiting all summer. So the only thing you can do when somebody is on your team and the next day they’re not on your team, is you move on. You can’t look back. That’s how Fran is handling it.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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