Education

Iowa, Iowa State investigate 'inappropriate actions' to UI marching band during Cy-Hawk game

ISU athletic director said university hasn't been informed of what happened

The sky is dark and gray over Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday before the Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames. The two universities are investigating “inappropriate actions” that may have happened to Iowa’s marching band during the rain-delayed game. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The sky is dark and gray over Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday before the Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames. The two universities are investigating “inappropriate actions” that may have happened to Iowa’s marching band during the rain-delayed game. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are investigating “inappropriate actions” toward Iowa’s marching band during Saturday’s rain-plagued football game in Ames.

No details have been released of what may have happened, which led to ISU Athletics Director Jamie Pollard to share his frustration in a news conference in Ames on Tuesday.

“It’s tough to comment on this situation because all we know is Iowa issued a press release,” Pollard said. “I couldn’t tell you what happened, when it happened or where it happened. No one has been able to ascertain that information and provide it to us.

UI Athletics Director Gary Barta on Monday said the UI was made aware of “inappropriate actions made toward student members and staff of the Hawkeye Marching Band” and that he had contacted ISU “to gather additional information.”

“Our main priority is the safety of all Iowa students, staff, and coaches when attending events away from Iowa City,” Barta said.

Pollard, at the Tuesday news conference, responded that “what we do know is the band traveled here with four police officers — one from the University of Iowa and three deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s office.

“Our police chief, Chief (Michael) Newton, spoke with the police chief at the University of Iowa and not one of those four officers saw anything, reported anything and, most importantly, had anybody in the band or any of the band directors share anything with them about anything that happened the day they were here,” he said. “Those four officers were with them the entire day.”

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Pollard said ISU’s band director was in company with the band director from Iowa, and was not made aware of any incidents.

He added that numerous cameras are in and around the area of Jack Trice Stadium and said ISU would look into the matter if it was provided specifics of what, when and where the alleged incident occurred. As of Tuesday, he said, ISU had not been provided that information.

“It pains me to think possibly, possibly, that they didn’t have a great experience, because if that happened, shame on us because Cyclone fans are far better than that,” Pollard said. “If we had a few Cyclone fans that acted inappropriately and damaged that, that’s a shame.

“Here’s what I do know happened last week. This state had a national audience with GameDay. It was an awesome, celebratory day for both Iowa and Iowa State.

“It brought great exposure to the Cy-Hawk series and Iowa Corn and everything great about this state. It pains me to think that a pretty vague release has kind of damaged that nationally. That’s unfortunate.

“We’re waiting to hear what, where, when. We’ll gladly jump in and try to help. Until then it’s pretty hard to know what we’re looking for.”

Noting previous bad behavior from fans and bands on both sides of the series, some members of the public have asked whether it makes the most sense to nix participation of visiting bands, or even cancel the series.

“End this series,” one man wrote on Twitter in response to Barta’s statement.

“It would not break my heart to end this series,” another fan wrote on social media. “Iowa seemingly gets no benefit from this game … win, lose, or draw.”

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But refusing to play in the game for reasons — other than “Acts of God and nature, including but not limited to strikes, war, or other unusual occurrence” — could cost the canceling school $1 million, according to a 6-year-old contract for the UI-ISU football faceoff.

The agreement — signed in November 2013 and extended twice to continue through 2025 — does allow for both sides to agree to waive the $1 million penalty.

But absent such agreement, a decision from one side to remove the annual game from its lineup would come with the hefty cost.

Only if either the Big Ten or Big 12 Conference implements scheduling protocol that prevents the series can either school escape the annual matchup unscathed, “provided the parties have each hosted the same number of home contests.”

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