Iowa State University director of athletics Jamie Pollard said Tuesday that he and Gary Barta, his counterpart at the University of Iowa, are confident the historic in-state football rivalry will continue despite allegations of fan abuse lodged by members of the Iowa marching band.
"Iowa State University is 100 percent committed to this series going forward," Pollard said, adding, "Gary Barta has shared with me that he's 100 percent committed to this series going forward."
In an interview Monday, Iowa president Bruce Harreld clearly stated his willingness to discontinue the annual non-conference match-up if the protection of band members, fans and players wasn't a top priority.
Iowa State was notified of five incidents that allegedly occurred during the Sept. 14 Cy-Hawk game in Ames. Pollard and ISU police chief Michael Newton said no additional information has been provided, and no police reports were filed.
Newton said there was contact with fans 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.
During Tuesday's news conference that also featured ISU president Wendy Wintersteen, Pollard was critical of the Iowa band for failing to exit from the open east exit of Jack Trice Stadium and instead exiting through a crowded west gate with "thousands" of people. As reported by The Zanesville Times Recorder, Pollard acknowledged the Iowa band's buses were about 50 yards closer to the east entrance, but implied it would be easy for band members to walk the extra 50 yards.
He also said that Iowa fans have harassed ISU band members in Iowa City in the past. “It’s embarrassing that happened," Pollards said of the alleged Sept. 14 incident. "It’s inexcusable, but it’s happened in both places.
"This has got to be a collective approach to not let that type of behavior happen. However, the misinformation that continues to be perpetuated has to stop."
As reported by WeAreIowa.com, Newton said nobody has come forward as of Tuesday morning regarding any of the alleged incidents brought to Iowa State University by the University of Iowa:
- A teaching assistant for the marching band had beer thrown on them.
- Something was thrown at the football team’s bus — not the band’s bus — during or shortly after the game. Player’s and coaches were not present and the windshield of the bus was cracked.
- The Hawkeye band director and the Iowa State University Director of Facilities had a verbal altercation on the field as the University of Iowa band was beginning to exit the field stadium.
- Following the game, a member of the University of Iowa marching band tried to enter the Bergstrom football complex through the Iowa State University football teams locker room entrance and was denied entrance to the facility resulting in a confrontation between the band member and security personnel.
- A member of the marching band who was carrying a ladder suffered broken ribs as the result of a band member being shoved and falling on the ladder while the band member was exiting the field with the band.
Pollard and Barta issued a joint statement Friday saying that bands from both schools have suffered bullying at both stadiums. The two asked for better fan behavior directed at visitors.
"We should all feel embarrassed when students in the bands don’t feel safe when performing at an away game," the joint statement read. "Each of our athletics departments is committed to doing whatever is necessary to improve the environment for visiting school marching bands in the future.
Pollard emphasized Tuesday the economic engine that the game represents, and that this year's contest was showcased by ESPN's "College Gameday." “All of the commerce wrapped up in that game … is a tremendous asset," he said. "The State of Iowa had a national platform with 'College Gameday.' That was an incredible branding opportunity for this state.”
The game also represents a platform for student musicians, Pollard said.
"Getting to play in front of the Cy-Hawk game is a big deal for the marching band members — both past, present and future. That's one of their biggest platforms. That being said, we welcome the call for our administration getting together and coming up with uniform policies and procedures of where the visiting team band sits, where the visiting team bands park. We care about the Iowa marching band. We want them at Jack Trice Stadium."