IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa officials are seeking clarity from the NCAA as to whether defensive tackle Noah Shannon and other suspended student-athletes can practice with their teams while the organization revamps its penalties associated with gambling, the university announced Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Shannon, a sixth-year defensive tackle, was suspended for the season for gambling on an Iowa basketball game earlier this year.
- The Hawkeyes appealed on Shannon’s behalf, which the NCAA denied last month to effectively end the two-year starter’s collegiate football career.
- Shannon has elected to stay in school and help assist his former teammates while preparing for an NFL career.
The NCAA Division I Council announced Wednesday it would reexamine reinstatement guidelines for athletes who have engaged in sports wagering. As long as the athlete did not bet on their team, there would be no suspension for a first offense regardless of the dollar value. Those guidelines would apply retroactively and allow currently suspended athletes to compete.
The NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement will finalize recommendations within two weeks and a final Council Coordination Committee vote takes place in late October.
“I’m not sure we’ll have to resubmit anything,” Iowa interim athletic director Beth Goetz said. “My understanding is it would be retroactively applied.”
Goetz said Iowa officials were “in quick contact” with the NCAA to receive clarity on practice eligibility. If appeals are denied, athletes cannot practice with their teams but if their case is under appeal, then they can continue to work out with their teams.
Several wrestlers are suspended and some for the season because of gambling infractions. But wrestlers can work out at local wrestling clubs, while football players have no way of staying in game shape while under suspension.
“Three weeks is a long time,” Goetz said. “It’s also quicker than we typically move when making these changes. So we obviously are hopeful that might provide an opportunity for other student-athletes.”
With 28 career starts, Shannon would immediately elevate the already strong Iowa defense if he’s allowed to return. He was one of three Hawkeyes chosen to represent the team in Indianapolis at Big Ten media days, which he declined based on the NCAA investigation. Shannon later told reporters of his involvement and apologized.
The entire episode has frustrated Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
“You would think since we had this breakthrough revelation that maybe we could act on it in the next couple of days, have an emergency meeting,” Ferentz said on his Wednesday radio show. “You think it might be something they can address in the near future. Now, I realize we’re all busy; I get that. My first response was happiness because I just hope it does go through and I hope Noah gets to get on the field this year because it would be so well deserved.”
“We’re really pleased that they’re reconsidering this,” Goetz said. “I think all of us know it’s really important to continue to protect the integrity of the game, and we want to make sure that we’re protecting students who could be involved in having some issues around gambling. But we also think that the penalty structure is unduly harsh in the current environment.”
(Photo: Justin Casterline / Getty Images)