The University of Iowa’s Athletics Department will be covering the entire cost of this week’s legal settlement with ex-football players.

The announcement came at an early morning House subcommittee meeting on a bill to force the university to make that move, rather than use $2 million taxpayer money to cover nearly half of the payout. Keith Saunders, chief government relations officer for the board that oversees the university, read legislators a statement from University of Iowa president Barbara Wilson.

“After listening to the concerns of Iowans and in consultation with the Board of Regents leadership, I have determined the University of Iowa Department of Athletics will reimburse the state General Fund for the $2 million due to the recent settlement,” Saunders read on behalf of Wilson.

Wilson expressed appreciation to Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird for negotiating the settlement and to the State Appeal Board for approving the agreement on Tuesday. These were Wilson’s first public comments on the settlement. Saunders read all three sentences aloud, including this final sentence from Wilson. “I’m deeply committed to our students’ success and wellbeing on and off the field of play,” Wilson said.

An additional statement from the university emphasized that the Athletics Department “is a self-sustaining unit that does not receive tuition revenue or taxpayer support.

Representative Carter Nordman, a Republican from Adel, said taxpayers should never have been required to cover any part of the settlement. “I’m not sure without the pressure of Iowans and some members in the legislature if this would have came about,” Nordman said. “…I do appreciate the university and their self evaluation and understanding that taxpayers should not be on the hook for $2 million here.”

AUDIO of subcommittee meeting, runs 2:20

Nordman said he’s advancing the bill to the full House Appropriations Committee to prevent similar situations in the future.

Attorneys for a dozen former University of Iowa players who alleged the Hawkeye football program was a racially hostile environment will be paid about half of the settlement and the 12 players will split the res

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