REPORT: State requests Iowa Supreme Court to keep Palo off basketball team


ISU redshirt junior Bubu Palo brings the ball up the court against Ohio State in the third round game of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, March 24, 2013, at the University of Dayton Arena.  The Cyclones came close to a two-seeded upset but fell in a last second shot by Ohio State’s Aaron Craft 75-78.

Alex Halsted

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Iowa Board of Regents, has asked the Iowa Supreme Court for an immediate stay of a district court’s decision last week that allowed Bubu Palo to rejoin the ISU men’s basketball team, the Des Moines Register reported Jan. 22. 

Palo was granted a temporary stay Jan. 16 by a district court, allowing him to rejoin the ISU men’s basketball team while his appeal of the Iowa Board of Regents’ affirmation of ISU President Steven Leath’s ruling to remove him from the team is heard.

The attorney general’s office has asked the Iowa Supreme Court to grant it an immediate stay to keep Palo from playing.

According to records obtained by the Register, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office argued that, “The district court’s ruling deprives the Board of Regents and Iowa State University of its legal authority to establish and enforce expectations of conduct for students while attending the university.”

Palo said in an interview with the Daily on Jan. 22, his appeal of the Regents’ affirmation of Leath’s ruling was about more than playing. 

“Obviously I want to play, but this is much more than basketball,” Palo said. “This is also about clearing my name.”

After being charged with sexual abuse in the second degree in September 2012 as the result of an incident in May 2012, Palo was indefinitely suspended from the basketball team. When charges were dropped in January 2013, Palo was reinstated and played 17 games for the Cyclones during the 2012-13 season.

In September 2012, the ISU Office of Judicial Affairs also charged Palo with violating the university’s Code of Conduct relating to sexual misconduct. The matter moved to an administrative law judge in April 2013 who ruled the accusations were “not founded,” according to court documents.

An appeal of that decision was heard last summer by Leath, who ruled that the code of conduct had been violated. Palo was removed from the basketball team Aug. 30, 2013, after Leath’s decision. The Regents affirmed Leath’s decision Dec. 5, and Palo appealed to district court.

A request by the Daily on Jan. 17 for comment from Leath has not been returned. Palo practiced with Iowa State on Jan. 22, but ISU coach Fred Hoiberg had no comment, except to confirm he had met with Palo.