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Iowa AD apologizes to son of basketball great upset with Luka Garza's jersey retirement

Jason Owens
·3-min read

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta apologized on Tuesday after the announcement of Luka Garza's jersey retirement sparked a rift with the son of a former Iowa great.

Barta announced on Sunday that Garza's jersey No. 55 would be retired after the conclusion of this season. Garza, a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, is a Wooden Award finalist for a Hawkeyes team expected to contend for an NCAA championship next month.

He broke the 32-year-old program scoring record held by Roy Marble last month. Marble's son Devyn, who was also an Iowa basketball standout, tweeted on Monday that he'll never watch another Iowa basketball game, accusing the program of disrespecting his family.

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Why is Devyn Marble upset?

Devyn was a three-year starter at Iowa and averaged 12.5 points while playing from 2010-14. He was named All-Big Ten his senior year. His father Roy was considered the best player in program history prior to Garza and led Iowa to its only 30-win season in 1987 in addition to a regional final and Sweet 16 appearances in back-to-back seasons.

He died of cancer in 2015. His No. 23 is not retired.

It's not clear if Devyn has issues with Iowa unrelated to Garza's jersey retirement.

FILE - In this March 9, 2013, file photo, former Iowa basketball player Roy Marble watches during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game between Iowa and Nebraska, in Iowa City, Iowa. Marble, Iowa's all-time leading scorer died, Iowa spokesman Matt Weitzel said, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. Marble, who had battled cancer in recent years, was 48. Heplayed for the Hawkeyes from 1986-89, scoring 2,116 points. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Roy Marble was Iowa's leading scorer until Luka Garza broke his record. His jersey is not retired. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

AD: 'Disrespect was unintentional'

Barta addressed Devyn's tweet on Tuesday on behalf of himself and head coach Fran McCaffery."

“We have learned since Sunday that Roy Marble’s family was hurt and feeling disrespected since that day,” Barta said, per the Associated Press. “I just want to take a moment and share that absolutely, that disrespect was unintentional and to publicly apologize for it. Fran (McCaffery) and I have also reached out to the family privately and shared those same feelings of apology."

Barta said that he had tried unsuccessfully to contact Devyn directly.

AD: Marble doesn't meet criteria for jersey retirement

Barta also said that Roy Marble did not meet the criteria for jersey retirement. The Iowa athletic department released a statement addressing criteria, but didn't explicitly define it.

“Iowa Athletics, in conjunction with the Iowa Varsity Club, have had different criteria over the years involving accomplishments, All-America recognition, individual awards, etc.,” the statement reads, per AP. “Gary Barta and Iowa administration have been working towards a set of criteria that is more streamlined, in which exact awards and recognition are included. The top two priorities are individual National Player of the Year recognition, and consensus All-America recognition."

Roy Marble was not named a consensus All-American. Garza received the honor last season as a junior is in contention to do so again in addition to competing for National Player of the Year honors.

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