Richard Allen Bayless (October 15, 1964 in Hugo, Minnesota) was a college football player for the University of Iowa from 1984-1987. He was an honorable mention All-American at running back in his junior season in 1986. He later played one game in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.
Rick Bayless earned two letters in football and three letters in track at Forest Lake High School in Forest Lake, Minnesota. He was a football team captain and set school records in track in the high jump, 100 meters, and the 60-yard dash. Bayless decided to walk on to the University of Iowa football team and redshirted in 1983.
In his junior season in 1986, Rick Bayless became Iowa’s starting running back when Kevin Harmon was lost to injury. Bayless became the third player in Iowa history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season and the fourth Hawkeye to lead the team in rushing and receiving in the same year. He was second in the Big Ten in rushing and led Iowa to a victory over San Diego State in the 1986 Holiday Bowl. Bayless was named all-Big Ten and honorable mention All-American in 1986. He was also named Iowa’s one and only team MVP in 1986; it is the last occasion in which the annual award was not shared by multiple players.
As a senior in 1988, Rick Bayless lost his starting position before the first game after an injury in practice. He never regained his starting spot in his final season, playing in only seven of Iowa’s 13 games. He left school as the tenth-leading rusher in school history. Bayless then played one game for the Minnesota Vikings in 1989 before retiring from football.