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IOWA CITY — University of Iowa and Iowa State University fans watching Saturday’s much-anticipated Cy-Hawk game won’t witness a repeat of the fiasco that two years ago left some UI band members injured, prompted police investigations and nearly nixed future games between the in-state foes.
Because the Hawkeye Marching Band won’t be there.
The UI’s 272-member marching band is staying home for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. matchup in Ames. Officials didn’t say whether they made that call due to the assaults in 2019, COVID-19 precautions, budget constraints or something else.
Officials said Hawkeye Marching Band leadership decided over the summer — while finalizing their travel schedule for the new budget year — not to schedule any travel this season.
“After thoughtful conversations with student leaders in the Hawkeye Marching Band and administration at the University of Iowa, the HMB is not traveling to Ames for the Iowa-Iowa State football game,” according to a statement from Hawkeye Marching Band Director Eric W. Bush, who also serves as associate director of bands.
“The band looks forward to cheering on the Hawkeyes from home and wishes the Cyclone band a successful season,” he said in the statement.
Should the Hawkeyes be selected for a postseason game, UI spokeswoman Anne Bassett said the band “plans to proceed with its normal postseason travel plans” where it accompanies the team.
Neither the Hawkeye nor Cyclone marching bands traveled last season due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
After the Cy-Hawk game Sept. 14, 2019 — held at Iowa State’s Jack Trice Stadium — members of the Hawkeye Marching Band told reporters they were verbally, physically and sexually assaulted during the game — which endured hourslong delays due to poor weather.
Those allegations evolved into finger pointing and eventual criminal complaints and investigations — although Iowa State police later issued a report saying its investigation found “no evidence to support the allegations in most of the cases.”
The controversy prompted administrators at Iowa’s three public universities to review and improve game management policies.
Although former UI President Bruce Harreld at one point suggested possibly ending the Cy-Hawk series if fan behavior didn’t improve, Gov. Kim Reynolds countered by vowing the “economic engine” that is the annual matchup wasn’t in jeopardy.
Carson King’s sign
Like the last Cy-Hawk game in 2019, ESPN’s College GameDay crew will be in Ames for the Saturday matchup.
It was during the live taping in 2019 that ISU fan Carson King waved his now famous sign seeking beer money for his Venmo account. The surprising response turned into a $3 million fundraiser for the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Iowa State noted the GameDay show will air from 8 to 11 a.m., and a limited number of fans will be allowed into a “pit” behind the stage beginning at 5:30 a.m. Fans won’t be allowed to camp on the grounds before entry, and Iowa State will have security in the area.
Within the pit, fans won’t be allowed to have food or drink, waive vulgar or inappropriate signs, use offensive language, bring bags, throw objects or bring dry erase boards or pens. The communication doesn’t mention COVID or advised precautions.
ISU in its message about Saturday also noted, “Fans are encouraged to act responsibly, arrive early, and demonstrate patience (expecting delays) and enjoy one of the biggest events in Iowa State football history.”
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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