IOWA CITY — Standout Iowa defensive end Drew Ott has filed paperwork toward gaining a medical red-shirt after two separate injuries robbed him of most of his senior season.
Ott played in Iowa’s six games but failed to play significant snaps in three games. He suffered a gruesome dislocated left elbow in the second quarter of Iowa’s second game. He played sparingly in Iowa’s next two games, one of which he started. He then opened Iowa’s first two conference games against Wisconsin and then Illinois. In the third quarter of Iowa’s sixth game, he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which ended his season.
Ott had knee surgery to repair his ACL tear in late October. Last week had his ulnar collateral ligament replaced with a tendon in his elbow, commonly known as Tommy John surgery.
“I filed for it, so we’ll see what happens with that,” Ott said. “I think there could be a chance, hopefully.”
According to the Big Ten, a school officially petitions for a medical hardship once the season is completed. The compliance coordinator and head team physician fill out medical statements that include injury dates, prescribed treatments and medical reasons why the athlete could not participate.
NCAA rules allow players to receive a medical hardship waiver if they fail to complete 30 percent of the season before the season’s halfway point. The Big Ten’s six-member academics and eligibility subcommittee, which includes Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta, decides Ott’s case. The subcommittee next is scheduled to meet Feb. 22-23, 2016 in Rosemont, Ill.
If the Big Ten’s subcommittee denies Ott’s request, he can appeal the decision to the NCAA’s committee on student-athlete reinstatement.
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Ott played in the final five games of his true freshman season in 2012. He became a starter in 2013 and became a force in 2014 after putting up eight sacks. In six games, he recorded five sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
“We’d be crazy not to try it,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I think there’s a fair case to be heard. I don’t know how the NCAA rules on things. I really don’t pretend to be an expert in that regard, but I think if you listen to the whole case, it’s worth at least presenting, and we’ll see where it takes us.
“The injury gutted him. It gutted all of us. It’s just a hard thing because he’s put so much into it. He clearly is one of our strong leaders and has been and still is. So yeah, he wants to finish this up. He wants to have a good senior year.”
If Ott were able to return, it would be a boon for Iowa. Ott (6-foot-4, 272 pounds) was considered a likely NFL draft prospect. Dealing with two significant injuries would hurt Ott’s draft stock, so playing another season could boost his professional chances.
“Whatever happens, I’ll take it as it goes,” Ott said. “I don’t think it will be too bad for me if I came back.”
Iowa cornerback Desmond King was named one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s best defensive back. Joining King on the list are Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, and Duke safety Jeremy Cash. King is the first Iowa defensive back named as a Thorpe finalist.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz was named the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Week, and safety Jordan Lomax was picked as the Lott Impact Player of the Week after picking up 13 tackles, breaking up a pass and combining to force a fumble against Purdue.
“I really try not to focus too much on it, just try to focus on whatever I can to make the team better,” Lomax said. “The awards just come with it.”
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The Big Ten announced the creation of the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year award, which is named after Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska and Iowa’s Tim Dwight.
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Iowa has earned the Big Ten West Division title and will compete in the league championship game on Dec. 5 in Indianapolis. The West Division champion is designated as the home team, which means Iowa can wear its home black uniform. Also, travel size limits are relaxed from 70 to unlimited.
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