The Northwestern athletic department has announced it will hold three peanut-free football games in 2014, including games against Cal on Aug. 30, Northern Illinois on Sept. 6 and Western Illinois on Sept. 20.
According to an ESPN report, the Northwestern policy resulted from the request of a father who's son, a Northwestern freshman and peanut-allergy sufferer, could see at least one football game in Evanston. One in 13 children have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE).
This isn't Northwestern's first such accommodation. The Wildcats banned peanuts at a game against Minnesota at Ryan Field on Oct. 19, 2013, and that day's attendance of 36,587 was the third-largest of the season.
"The response to Peanut-Free Day at Ryan Field last season was overwhelming," Northwestern deputy athletic director Mike Polisky said in a school statement. "We learned of so many families that were able to experience Big Ten football for the first time on that Saturday. This year we're excited to be able to offer tens of thousands of Chicagoland families perhaps their first opportunity to experience college athletics at the highest level across a number of our programs."
Polisky and his staff will introduce peanut-free environments to 10 men's basketball games, six women's basketball games, all 18 volleyball matches and three wrestling matches. Tickets for the three-game football package have been set for $90, while the 10-game basketball package is $140.
Are peanut-free games worth the investment for facility operators?
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who said earlier this week that the decision by three Nebraska football players to kneel during the national anthem was “disgraceful and disrespectful,” plans to meet with one of the players.
In a tweet Tuesday night, Ricketts accepted a proposal for a meeting by Michael Rose-Ivey, who knelt during the national anthem with teammates DaiShon Neal and Mohamed Barry before the Cornhuskers’ game at Northwestern.
.@Rose_IveyNB15 Thanks for reaching out. Direct message me your information, and we will get something set up right away!
The protest also drew criticism from two university regents, Hal Daub and Jim Pillen. Daub said the three players should be kicked off the team for their actions.
“They know better, and they had better be kicked off the team,” Daub told the Lincoln Journal-Star. “They won’t take the risk to exhibit their free speech in a way that places their circumstance in jeopardy, so let them get out of uniform and do their protesting on somebody else’s nickel.”
Rose-Ivey, a senior linebacker from Kansas City, Mo., addressed the issue Monday before reporters, detailing the threats he has received since the protest. Here is a clip of Rose-Ivey describing those threats, along with the entire press conference he held on Monday. (Warning: Some of the comments are graphic):
Nebraska's Michael Rose-Ivey with a powerful statement in today's press conference. Says fans told him he should "be hung before the anthem" pic.twitter.com/NJjEMnUYhd
University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds and head coach Mike Riley support the players.
“College campuses, as much as any space, must be places where robust, even uncomfortable, debate is welcomed and encouraged,” Bounds said. “Our students, faculty and staff absolutely enjoy the right to participate in these dialogues in the manner they choose under the First Amendment and board policy.”
Riley said after the game, “Obviously, this is a choice they have made for personal reasons and that’s the beautiful thing about the United States that they can do that.”
Virginia Beach Officials Plan Arena Finance Session A new report says the city should move full steam ahead with building a sports and entertainment arena near the Oceanfront. But the public won’t get a detailed explanation for how Johnson Consulting arrived at that conclusion because many of the financial predictions upon which it’s based have been redacted from the report. read more
No Charges for Washington State Player in Fight Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy on Monday declined to charge Washington State football safety Shalom Luani in connection with a fight at a Pullman Domino's Pizza that left one man with a broken nose and Luani with a concussion. read more
Work Begins to Replace Sewage-Flooded HS Stadium For decades, students at The Howard School have played on a field that is often flooded with sewage. Community members have long been advocating for a new stadium, and with the support of numerous elected officials, it may finally become a reality. Howard boosters were joined last Wednesday at the site of the potential stadium by state lawmakers, Hamilton County commissioners and past and current school board members, while Tennessee American Water worked to remove three fire hydrants from the property. read more