Iowa athletic director taking leave of absence due to prostate cancer

Barta has been Iowa’s athletic director since 2006. (AP)

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta is taking a leave of absence because he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The school confirmed Barta’s leave to the Des Moines Register. The paper reported that Barbara Burke, the school’s deputy athletic director, would take over Barta’s duties.

Barta is in his 11th year as the school’s athletic director after succeeding now-Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby with the Hawkeyes. Barta signed football coach Kirk Ferentz to a six-year extension at the beginning of the 2016 season when Ferentz had four years remaining on his current deal.

The contract extension became a source of short-term consternation for Hawkeyes fans as Iowa lost to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State shortly after its announcement. Iowa rebounded for an 8-5 season in 2016 and is currently 4-2 after losses to ranked teams Penn State and Michigan State.

Barta’s absence means two teams in the Big Ten West have interim athletic directors, albeit under very different circumstances. Nebraska fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst not long after the team lost to Northern Illinois in September. The school replaced Eichorst with former football player Dave Rimington.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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