Will Drew Ott play next season? It's up to the NCAA.
There was finally some movement in Ott's situation, with Iowa announcing Monday: “In regards to the University of Iowa appeal on behalf of Drew Ott, the Big Ten Conference has granted the UI’s request to forward the petition to the NCAA, where a decision will be rendered on his request for an additional year through the Medical Hardship Waiver process.”
What that means is that the Big Ten has allowed Iowa's petition for a waiver to move to the NCAA, which will make the decision on whether or not Ott can suit up for a fifth season with the Hawkeyes in 2016 after he missed much but not all of the 2015 campaign with a torn ACL.
The medical-hardship rule, as outlined by the NCAA, requires that a player play in fewer than 30 percent of his team's games and does not play after the midway point of the season in which the injury occurs. That wasn't the case with Ott, who appeared in six games for the Hawkeyes last season.
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As ESPN.com's Mitch Sherman wrote in conjunction with Ott's appearance last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ott is caught in the middle of the NCAA and his future. Ott wants to return to Iowa but can't do so until the NCAA tells him he can. If the NCAA doesn't make a quick decision, Ott will have potentially missed out on chances to impress potential NFL employers, as he's not allowed to sign with an agent, an act that would end his NCAA eligibility. But he doesn't know if he has any NCAA eligibility left. Hence the sticky situation.
Ott has been one of Iowa's best defenders in recent seasons. As a junior in 2014, he was named a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team by the media after tying for fourth in the league with eight sacks and ranking 14th in the conference with 12 tackles for loss.
Last season, Ott recorded five sacks, 7.5 tackles and three forced fumbles for loss in just six games. He left Iowa's win over Illinois with the torn ACL and did not play the remainder of the season.
There is no timeframe for when the NCAA might make a decision on Ott's status for next season.