DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday ending the Iowa-Iowa State football rivalry is not an option and she believes presidents at the two regent universities will work out safety concerns that arose when the two teams renewed their rivalry earlier this month.
“I have full confidence in the two universities sitting down and being able to figure this out. They’ll move through it, making sure that they take everything into account,” the governor told reporters during her weekly news conference.
Asked if she was concerned the tradition could end due to problems surrounding this month’s game in Ames, Reynolds said “I just really don’t believe that that’s really an option.”
UI officials say they have reopened an inquiry into reports of verbal, physical and sexual abuse directed against the Hawkeye Marching Band at a football rivalry in Ames after band members went public with detailed allegations.
Representatives for UI President Bruce Harreld, Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen and University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook have indicated each are “committed to discussing and adopting a uniform safety protocol prior to next season.”
Reynolds said she hasn’t spoken directly with either university president but added she believed “it goes without saying” that the Iowa-ISU football tradition will continue.
“I believe that that’s where the two of them are at, too, so I think that we’re going to see this continue,” she said. “I am very confident that the two universities will be able to sit down at the table and work through a process that allows this tradition to carry on in a manner that protects those that are attending.”
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In the aftermath of the Sept. 14 game The Gazette and other media reported accounts from band members that they experienced racial slurs, verbal and physical sexual harassment and assault, shoves that sent one woman to the hospital, and thrown objects leaving lasting bruises.
Reynolds, an ISU graduate, said she was not able to attend this year’s game due to a family wedding scheduled on the same day.
“There was a lot of consternation in our family over the timing of that,” she told reporters. “But we were a good family and we were there, where we wanted to be.”
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