Iowa State Email to Iowa Band Lacked Stadium Exit Plan

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Call it a marching band story with legs. New details have emerged in the aftermath of verbal and physical abuse alleged by the University of Iowa marching band during a Sept. 14 visit to rival Iowa State, as schools and media continue to investigate what actually happened and why.

During a press conference Tuesday, Iowa State University officials said post-game problems involving contact between fans and Iowa band members resulted in part from the band exiting Jack Trice Stadium through a crowded gate when an alternative open gate was available. However, The Daily Iowan campus newspaper reports that an email sent to Iowa's band director in advance of the visit to Ames made no mention of what gate the Iowa band was supposed to use once the game was over.

Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO, as well as The Daily Iowan student newspaper, obtained a copy of a Sept. 10 email between Cyclone Marching Band director Christian Carichner and Hawkeye Marching Band director Eric Bush that discusses the stadium entrance the band is supposed to use, but it doesn't explain which gate the Iowa band was supposed to exit.

“In summary, gate 3 is the south end zone (Blue Star). I recommend walking around the EAST side of jack trice (blue line), as you cannot walk around the west side due to construction (red star). Your section is 26, very close to gate 3. It is not a wide section, but a very deep section, and you have the entire area. It's 501 seats, which ought to be plenty of room,” Carichner said in the email, as reported by WHO.

The email also describes where the buses are supposed to be located, “Buses and truck can move to south 4th street during the 4th quarter if you wish to load there post-game. Right on the north side of the stadium in the 4th quarter. Police will direct you where to park. Please let us know if you do NOT want to do this and instead walk back to your susses [sic],” Carichner said in the email.

As reported by The Daily Iowan, the email also has Carichner advising, “Please let me know what your expected arrival time is, as well as what your planned stadium entrance time will be so I can make sure I have a staff member to greet you and escort you around. Last thing, regarding the route to the stadium — you are free to choose a different path, but I highly suggest this one as it was the same plan from two years ago and there was minimal ‘interference’ from fans on both sides.”

ISU Police said during Tuesday's press conference that at some point on game day the Iowa Marching Band was instructed to use Gate 1 instead of Gate 5, where the crowd of fans were. Using Gate 5 resulted in a bottleneck — a situation in which fans could not walk fast enough to avoid the advancing band members. Iowa band members contend they were pelted with debris and even groped sexually during the contact. WHO reported Thursday that it had obtained a heavily redacted police report from the University of Iowa showing there are three victims who made official police reports regarding incidents surrounding the Cy-Hawk game.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard on Tuesday complained of misinformation being spread through media coverage of what ultimately took place. “Unfortunately, the misinformation that’s out there is a visual that their band was walking to their bus and they were attacked by Cyclone fans,” Pollard said.

Pollard also contended then that the Iowa band had received exit instruction. “Our security personnel advised the Iowa Marching Band that it would be best for them to exit to the east through Gate 1, like our band did and had no issues, because the gate was wide open," Pollards said. "For whatever reason, the Iowa Marching Band did not do that.”

ISU Police chief Michael Newton said after the press conference, “We have received more information that will assist us in conducting an investigation. We are happy people were willing to come forward and we will continue to move this investigation forward.”

“I always loved traveling with the Hawkeye Marching Band and I don’t want other students to lose the opportunity to travel because it is really fun and it’s great to interact with other bands. And the other bands have always been great and nice to be around," former Iowa Marching Band Member Anna Mayer, who played at Cy-Hawk games in Ames in 2015 and 2017, told WHO. "And I hope that something can be resolved so that traveling and being comfortable in other places continues to happen.”

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