Could Iowa and Iowa State discontinue their annual football series over allegations that Iowa State fans abused Iowa band members? It sure seems farfetched. But it’s not impossible according to Iowa’s president.
Bruce Harreld told the Daily Iowan that he wasn’t convinced his school should continue to play Iowa State if safety concerns couldn’t be resolved. Iowa band members alleged late last week that they were physically and verbally abused by Iowa State fans during the Sept. 14 game at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.
“I’m not convinced at all that we should play this game again here or there or anywhere unless we can protect our fans, our band and of course our athletes,” Harreld said. “I’ve reached out to [Iowa State president Wendy Wintersteen] as well as [Northern Iowa president Mark Nook]. Because we don’t ever, I believe, play in their venues but they play in our venues and I think all three of us need to sit down and have a series of conversations with our athletic directors, with our band directors, with our campus security and safety people and say how do we protect, how do we ensure that something like what happened last weekend doesn’t happen again.”
Here is University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld speaking to @TheDailyIowan on potentially not playing the Iowa/Iowa State following the incident with the Marching Band in Ames: pic.twitter.com/iwPcwffPba— Lucy Rohden (@lucyrohdenTV) September 23, 2019
Iowa and Iowa State first met on the football field in 1894. The teams have played 67 times and have met every season since the rivalry was renewed in 1977 after a 43-year break.
Band members recounted shove, verbal abuse
In an interview with the Cedar Rapids Gazette published Friday, Iowa band members said they witnessed and experienced verbal and physical abuse from adult Iowa State fans at the game. The revelation of those allegations came two days after Iowa athletic director Gary Barta and Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard issued a joint statement condemning inappropriate fan conduct toward band members at both schools at both teams’ stadiums in recent years.
That statement didn’t include any specific allegations of violent conduct or verbal abuse. And on Tuesday, Pollard said at a press conference that the school and its police department had been unable to substantiate some of the five allegations of inappropriate conduct that it had received from Iowa.
Pollard also kept noting that Iowa State band members had been mistreated while at Iowa for football games. And he also said that the Iowa band had left Jack Trice Stadium after the Hawkeyes’ win through a different gate that it was supposed to.
A band member had told the Gazette that he was shoved by an Iowa State fan as the band was marching toward its bus.
During Tuesday's news conference, Pollard chastised the Iowa band for failing to exit from the open east exit and instead exited through a crowded west gate with "thousands" of people. Pollard acknowledged the Iowa band's buses were closer to the west entrance, but implied it would be easy for band members to walk the extra distance.
"We really care, but the statement that 'something really bad happened' has created another narrative that there was something that happened that wasn't part of those five allegations."
ISU Police Chief Michael Newton said there was a skirmish as the band exited Jack Trice Stadium because members of the band were pushing the backs of people as they walked out of the stadium.
“They were marching faster than people could walk,” Newton said.
Barta spoke after Pollard did on Tuesday and said that the school’s administration had even met with the sexual misconduct response team. The headline of the Gazette article alleged sexual abuse toward Iowa band members.
He also added that Iowa was still working to verify some of the allegations that had been reported to the school and said that they had been working with the band members who were allegedly mistreated and abused to ensure that school resources would be available to them.
More from Gary Barta:— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 24, 2019
"We had students at that game that were mistreated. To this point, we're still working with them. We've met with him, our Office of Sexual Misconduct Response has met with them, they've been afforded the opportunity to meet with law enforcement."
Good question @MarkEmmert (non-NCAA prez) about if UI band members were victims of a crime:— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 24, 2019
"It's hard for me to say. I believe that they were wronged. I believe that we're going to continue to support them. At this point, there are still a lot of details that can't be verified."
Iowa won the game 18-17 after the Cyclones got mixed up on a late-game punt return. The game was the site of ESPN’s College GameDay that morning and was also delayed for multiple hours because of thunderstorms.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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