Iowa Football

Iowa AD Gary Barta says football bowl trips will be reimagined for 2020

No fans, but still fun for players

University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta discusses findings of the independent review of issues of racial dispari
University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta discusses findings of the independent review of issues of racial disparities in the program during a press conference in the Feller Club Room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Bowl game trips this year likely will be shorter and more about fun for the players than money for the universities, University of Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said Thursday.

Despite cancellation of some bowl games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Hawkeyes, with a 4-2 record, have a good chance of finding themselves bowl bound.

So what does that look like for fans and players?

“We know we’re going to shorten the visit time on the bowl,” Barta told reporters after the Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting Thursday.

Since the Big Ten Conference has said it will not allow fans at games this season and some bowls have already said they won’t have fans, bowl games will be more about TV and about making sure the student-athletes have a good experience on the shortened trips, Barta said.

“Get us there and get us home. Provide the students with a positive experience,” Barta said, acknowledging that the UI will lose out on revenue, including from ticket sales.

Universities also will be focused on keeping student-athletes COVID-free on bowl trips, Barta added.

Bowl selection likely will happen Dec. 20, right after the conferences complete their championship games.


Established criteria for how many games a team has to win to be bowl bound are out the window this season and bowls may choose teams more for their TV appeal than their record.

Barta said he can’t predict what will happen to Big Ten teams in the 16 days before the Dec. 19 championship game. Some schools have had to cancel games because too many players have tested positive for COVID-19 or had to quarantine because of an exposure. Iowa, so far, hasn’t had to call off any games.

“Someone will be named Big Ten champions,” he said. “We can’t predict who will be able to play, who won’t be able to play. I assume it will occur through the normal channel of two teams playing in Indianapolis.”

The Hawkeyes play Illinois at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Champaign.

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