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A State of Fools This April: Iowa's Quixotic Quest for a Fifth Season for Drew Ott

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Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa defensive end Drew Ott's senior season was injury plagued; he dislocated his elbow against Iowa State in week two, then tore his ACL a month later against Illinois. Ever since, Iowa has been pursuing a medical hardship waiver so that Ott could regain his senior season.

There's one little complication.  Under NCAA rules, Ott doesn't qualify for a waiver.  According to NCAA rule 12.8.4, three criteria must be met for a team sport:

(a) The incapacitating injury or illness occurs in one of the four seasons of intercollegiate competition at any two-year or four-year collegiate institutions or occurs after the first day of classes in the student-athlete's senior year in high school;

(b) The injury or illness occurs prior to the first competition of the second half of the playing season that concludes with the NCAA championship in that sport  (see Bylaw 12.8.4.3.4) and results in incapacity to compete for the remainder of that playing season;

(c) In team sports, the injury or illness occurs when the student-athlete has not participated in more than three contests or dates of competition (whichever is applicable to that sport) or 30 percent (whichever number is greater) of the institution's scheduled or completed contests or dates of competition in his or her sport.

Ott meets the first two criteria for a hardship waiver.

He doesn't meet the third.  Ott played in six of Iowa's 14 games (43%) last season...way more than the NCAA's 30% or three games criteria.  But Iowa decided to pursue it anyway.  Which I understand: you never know for sure until you ask.

Unfortunately for Ott, the NCAA has turned down his petition.  So that should be the end of it, right?  Not so fast, my friends.  We're talking about IOWA, remember?  According to Iowa assistant coach Reese MorganIowa has appealed this decision multiple times.

And has gotten the same answer each and every time.  No.

"He's written appeals. He has communicated. Our compliance people are going back and forth trying to help out," Morgan said. "But, yeah, it's — you know, it's hard and you feel for him, because he just wants to know. He just wants to know: Can I get an agent? Can I continue to play? … What am I able to do?"

Wait. What?  The NCAA has given him an answer - and apparently given it to him multiple times.  But for some reason, Iowa has somehow become Lloyd Christmas to the NCAA's Mary Swanson.

The rule is pretty straightforward, and the answers are pretty clear. Drew Ott's college football career is over.  Should he get an agent?  Why wouldn't he, with the NFL Draft coming up next month.

The rule is pretty clear, and the NCAA has responded multiple times.  Yet Iowa somehow is not getting the message:

NCAA: "Sorry, the answer is no."

NCAA: "In case you missed it, the answer is still no."

NCAA: "Still the same answer. No."

NCAA: "See the previous response. No."

NCAA: "The answer is still no."

NCAA: "We already did: No."

NCAA: "Don't look at us. We've already given Iowa our answer. Many times."

NCAA: "Reading it would be a good start."

NCAA: "We already did. Talk to the folks in Iowa City, who seem to have a comprehension issue."

NCAA: "Not."

I get the disappointment in Iowa...but the outrage seems to be misplaced. The NCAA has responded - many times.

It just doesn't seem to be getting through in Iowa City.