Big 12 Sports Interviews

Interview: Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard

NCAA Football: Northern Iowa at Iowa State

It was great to spend a few minutes speaking with Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard. We chatted about Dennis Dodd’s report on CBS Sports regarding potential changes to the college football transfer rule and what other tweaks could be considered. I also ask Pollard about his discussions and negotiations leading up to Matt Campbell’s new contract and where Iowa State’s athletic programs stand on a national level.



On the Dennis Dodd transfer report“The Big 12 idea, because it’s not a proposal yet, in a form that has gone to the NCAA, but it’s a concept right now that the Big 12 is behind, which says for the first time ever in the history of college athletics, we would empower student athletes to transfer at their own free will, like they’ve never been able to before. We would block a coach ever stopping a student-athlete from transferring to another school, we would have uniformity amongst all sports, so all student-athletes would be treated equally. And those students, when they decided to transfer would be eligible immediately for aide and to practice at their new institution, but they wouldn’t be eligible to compete immediately, unless one of these four things happened…” and now I am paraphrasing: 

  1. Had graduated from their first institution 
  2. If their head coach had left, either been fired or left for another job
  3. If the institution that they were currently at had an NCAA sanction that prevented them to compete in the postseason
  4. They were a walk-on

Why does he feel strongly about the academic year in residency (sitting out a year) if none of the above four happen and a player still decides to transfer: “There’s a boatload of statistics that show student-athletes, when they transfer, have less of a chance to transfer and will do worse academically. So we want ot make sure we protect the academic piece of this. Number two, I think it just gives a pause button to say, we’re not saying you can’t transfer, we’re not restricting where you can transfer, but you outta take this seriously and really think about the ramifications, academically. And then in the end if you really want to transfer you can… we think this is a great compromise that empowers the student athlete but also looks out for their best interests.” 

What about one concern, regarding postseason bans, if most of a team transfers, is that like the Death Penalty? “My response would be, under the proposal… the whole team could transfer and be eligible the next year. We recognize the proposal that we have as a concept… no one is saying its perfect, but if we as an industry don’t come up with something, the other is going to happen and the other has no regard for what you just said and the whole team could transfer and be eligible at another institution immediately. I think that we have to be careful that we don’t overthink it. We have to think about the high level of situations where there’s clearly been angst nationally… whether a whole team could transfer, I think that’s a hypothetical situation, but could they? Yes.” 

On Baylor’s involvement in the process given the issues they dealt with in the last couple of years: “No institution should be singled out. This is the Big 12… the reference to Baylor and Iowa State [in Dodd’s report] is those two faculty reps, agreed to essentially do the heavy lifting and put our concept to paper… it’s not an Iowa State proposal, I just happened to be the person at the event that Dennis Dodd was at. It isn’t any one institution it’s the collective thought of all Big 12 schools.” 

Explaining how the negotiating process with Matt Campbell on his new contract extension: “At the end of the season, when we sat down, to have him do exactly what he told me he was going to do [stay at Iowa State] throughout the season was refreshing because we don’t have to look very far in our industry to see people who say one thing and do another. And so I feel blessed that we have a head coach that you can take his word when he tells you his word.” 

Discussing the direction of Iowa State athletics on a national level: “We had our best all-time, in the history of Iowa State, finish in the Directors’ Cup for the fall. We’re 17th in the country, second in the Big 12. We did a calculation, all our sports went to the postseason this fall, except one, had that one gone to the postseason, we would’ve been 8th in the country and first in the Big 12. So little ole’ Iowa State has rang the bell so to speak in really changing out profile from an athletic standpoint. But we want to continue to excel, we’re here to have our student-athletes have he best possible experience they can have as a student and as an athlete… we’re in an outstanding league that’s very competitive and if you can excel in the Big 12 you’ll do well on the national stage.” 

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