CHICAGO — Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said Thursday that former Iowa basketball player Anthony Hubbard had no added restrictions while he attended Iowa, and Hubbard wanted to move closer to his Virginia home when he asked for his release.
"That's the quote that he gave, that's what he said he wanted his statement to be and beyond that, you'd have to ask him," Barta said. "I'm not going to talk about exactly what we talked about in our conversations. But at the end of the day he asked for his release, we gave it to him and we've moved on."
Hubbard, 26, enrolled at Iowa in mid-June and left the school in mid-July. Hubbard served four years in prison from 2003 through 2007 for robbery but since had become a junior-college All-American and earned a 3.2 grade-point-average.
"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 surfaced within days of Hubbard's release that he was in contact with Nebraska officials, which contradicted Hubbard's interest in moving closer to home. Barta said he's "disappointed" that Hubbard chose to leave but he refused to deviate from Hubbard's statement in the news release.
"He came and asked us for a release, that's how it finally ended," Barta said. "As I said, I'm disappointed. It was kind of a unique recruiting process and we wanted it to work, it didn't work.
"I hear about rumors, 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. He wanted to transfer so we said, 'Yes,' and now we're down to the guys on the team."
Barta said he has no regrets about how he handled Hubbard's situation, only that "it didn't work." Barta and head coach Fran McCaffery held an introductory news conference with Hubbard on June 15. Hubbard was released on scholarship on July 14.
"Any time 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."
McCaffery and his staff made three trips to watch Hubbard in Frederick, Md., and spent hours checking his background before offering Hubbard a scholarship."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, they transfer, is you move on. You can't look back. That's how Fran is handling it."