INDIANAPOLIS -- In a bizarre intersection of NCAA rules, the NFL calendar, and a trying set of injury circumstances, Iowa defensive lineman Drew Ott might go through the NFL Scouting Combine twice in consecutive years. The Hawkeyes have appealed to the Big Ten Conference for a medical-hardship waiver to allow Ott a fifth year of playing eligibility. If the waiver is granted and NCAA rubber-stamped, he intends to return to Iowa this fall, and could return to the combine a second time in 2017.
"I'd probably go back (to school) if I got my fifth year," Ott said on Saturday.
At issue is a two-pronged requirement for medical-hardship waivers: That the player participates in fewer than 30 percent of his team's games in the season he wants to void, and that he not play at all past that season's midpoint. Ott appeared in six games before tearing knee ligaments, well over 30 percent, but was limited with a different injury in some of that action, reportedly resulting in the basis of his appeal.
He went through medical examinations and club interviews only at this year's combine. The NCAA only approved Ott's participation about a week ago, he said, and because his NCAA eligibility remains pending, he's not allowed to sign with an agent.
"(The appeal has) taken a lot longer to rule on than I thought initially ... Hopefully here in two weeks I should hear back. It's a different (time frame) for every case. I don't think it would be too hard to go back (to Iowa). I've still been doing the same things, training at Iowa and stuff like that, so it's not like I've ever really left."
As for the possibility of going through the combine twice, Ott doesn't at all mind getting an insider's preview a year before what might be another trip to Indianapolis with much higher stakes next year, if he's invited again.
"It'd be very beneficial for me to know what the interviewing process is like and what the demands are of the four days here," he said.
Ott was off to a fabulous start in 2015 before his knee injury, piling up 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in six games. With a healthy knee and a green light to play, he could get a chance to do it all over again.
Including, potentially, another trip to Indy.