IOWA CITY — Everything’s all hunky-dory, apparently.
Gary Dolphin will return as the Learfield Sports radio play-by-play announcer for Hawkeyes men’s basketball next Thursday. Friday’s home game against Wisconsin was the front half of a two-game suspension Dolphin was assessed by Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta this week.
That was in response to comments about McCaffery’s recruiting and Hawkeye player Maishe Dailey’s play during what he and color commentator Bob Hansen thought was an off-air moment during halftime of Tuesday’s Pittsburgh-Iowa game.
Thursday, McCaffery said Dolphin’s comments were “inexcusable” and “incredibly unfair.”
“First, I want to apologize again to Maishe, Coach McCaffery, his staff and the Hawkeye Basketball Program,” Dolphin said on Twitter Friday, minutes before Barta addressed the media in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“What I said was unacceptable,” Dolphin wrote. “I know how hard Maishe works and what a talented player he is. Bobby and I also know how hard recruiting is and our coaches work tirelessly doing it the right way. I’m in complete agreement with the two-game suspension, this is on me and nobody else. It’s hard to communicate to fans but I am part of the Athletics Department family and my comments and actions need to reflect that relationship. I am fully on the same page with Gary and Fran as we work through this.”
In Wednesday’s news release announcing the suspension, Barta alluded to “ongoing tensions” between Dolphin and Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery. Friday, he acknowledged them but refused to specify them.
“The tensions we’ve been working through in the past have been done behind closed doors,” Barta said. “Once this occurred it real difficult to keep all that behind closed doors.
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“The comments Tuesday night kind of opened the box, and I was able to make the determination working with Learfield and Gary to create the suspension for two games.”
Those previous “tensions,” Barta said, will “remain private.”
As for the feedback Barta got from the public, “People began picking sides,” he said. “That’s not healthy, that’s not good.”
He said the comment about Dailey was the primary issue.
“I mentioned previously he crossed a line,” Barta said. “He made derogatory comments toward Maishe. He regrets that. And he owns it. He knows he said it, only he. He’s fully accepted the two-game suspension. He’s ready to move on and so is everybody else.
“We have 650 student-athletes. When any of them at any one time is going through something difficult, it raises my bar and where I take action. Maishe’s a terrific young man. I’ve loved watching him grow as a student, as an athlete, and as a person the last year.”
Barta got a lot of comments this week from people supporting Dolphin.
“I know Gary’s been here a long, long time,” Barta said.
“People think highly of him, which is great. So do I. He made a mistake, and fortunately we’ve worked through it.”
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