Iowa defensive end Drew Ott has waited several months already for a final decision on his petition to the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility. His 2015 regular season with the Hawkeyes was ended short after injuries to his elbow and knee that resulted in season-ending surgeries.
He's been rehabbing the injuries but also preparing for a possible next step to the NFL. Ott did not participate in any drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis but was on hand for interviews and meetings with prospective professional teams. He also weighed in at Iowa's Pro Day held on Monday.
In Indianapolis Ott was under the impression he would know in a couple weeks but that timeframe has since lapsed.
"It's still ongoing," Ott shared with media members at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "We should have a ruling here in like two weeks from the NCAA."
Well, we don't. Final rulings on medical waivers are usually handed out by now but that is not the case in this situation. Ott is still in limbo and that may be the most challenging aspect of it.
"For him the toughest part is not knowing," head coach Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday. "It's like anything in life, if you don't know where you're going and what the future is, that's always a tough thing to deal with."
It's taking longer than usual, and needed, but Iowa feels optimistic about their chances due to some cases in the past, as well as a recent one.
"We've had some encouraging news from some other cases, a basketball player from Temple had a case similar to Drew's," Ferentz explained. "Just learned actually yesterday about Case Keenum who is playing for the Rams right now, when he was at Houston he actually got a sixth year, redshirted one year, played three and then was injured in his fifth year and got a sixth year. So there are some cases out there that give you encouragement. We won't know until a final decision is given. When we get that, we'll pass that on to you, but we'll keep our fingers crossed on that front."
The timeline keeps getting pushed back and there's a new closing date, it seems, each month. But with an NFL Draft fast approaching, it looks like a decision could come in the next couple of weeks.
"I think probably within weeks here," Ferentz stated about when a final conclusion could come on Drew Ott's waiver for an extra year of eligibility. "The clock is kind of ticking a little bit too because the NFL people are at some point going to make a move, too. I would imagine they'd want to bring him in for physicals and those types of things. He got checked at the combine. He got an exemption for that. So that gave him a baseline. But if they're going to ask a guy to join their team, they're going to want to know where he is physically. We're still probably a couple weeks away, but clock is running right now."
Should Ott return to Iowa City for a final season, it is likely he'll be ready by fall camp, though, which is a great sign for the Hawkeyes.
"I don't know if I can pinpoint (an exact time when he'd be available)," Ferentz admitted about Ott's health status. "I think he'll be ready in camp, be ready this summer. He's working at it really hard."