To paraphrase an old saying, the NCAA taketh and… the NCAA taketh again.
For the better part of six months, Drew Ott has been seeking a medical waiver from The Association that would allow him a fifth season at Iowa. The Big Ten approved the waiver and forwarded the request on to the NCAA, which a very short time ago reportedly denied Ott’s appeal for another season of eligibility.
On Twitter, Ott confirmed the development.
Finding out that my time has come to an end here at Iowa leaves me with a lot of people to… https://t.co/oJPgdXHV5P
— Drew Ott (@DrewDanielOtt) April 13, 2016
At issue in Ott’s appeal was a truncated 2015 season.
Ott played in the first six games of the 2015 season before tearing an ACL, which sidelined the end for the remainder of the year. According to NCAA bylaws, a player is eligible for a medical hardship waiver if he doesn’t play in more than 30 percent of his team’s games and if he hasn’t played in any games past the halfway point. While Ott met the latter requirement, he played in more than 30 percent of the Hawkeyes’ 14 games.
Iowa based their appeal to the NCAA on the fact that Ott suffered a dislocated elbow in the second game of the 2015 season and only played sparingly until the ACL tear.
Why it took the NCAA this long, and this close to the draft, to make a final decision on an appeal that has been in the works for nearly six months ago is unknown and will certainly open The Association up to even more (justifiable) criticism. With Ott’s eligibility expired and the appeal denied, he will now be eligible for the NFL draft, which kicks off in two weeks.
Suffice to say, though, head coach Kirk Ferentz wasn’t appreciative of any part of the process that’s led up to this point.
Ferentz: “I’m disappointed for Drew and I’m really quite frankly disappointed with the decision and disappointed with the process.”
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) April 13, 2016
In the end, the NFL’s gain will come at the expense of Ferentz and the Hawkeyes, which is prematurely losing a very talented and productive piece of its defensive line.
After playing in five games as a true freshman in 2012, Ott had started 31 of the last 32 games for the Hawkeyes prior to the injuries, including a string of 19 straight over the past two seasons. Following the 2014 season, and after leading the team in tackles for loss (12), sacks (eight) and quarterback pressures (seven), he was named second-team All-Big Ten.