Sept. 14 was a long day in Ames, Iowa. The ESPN "College GameDay" crew had to be accommodated before the Cy-Hawk football game between Iowa and Iowa State. The first half had been delayed by rain, and the field had been stormed by fans in the wake of Iowa's one-point victory.
Fallout from what followed that day has made a long day seem even longer. Nearly three weeks later, ISU is investigating four criminal complaints regarding alleged abusive treatment of the Hawkeye Marching Band, which made the trip with Iowa's team, per tradition. Band members claim they were harassed verbally and physically as they attempted to exit Jack Trice Stadium on their way to their bus.
As reported by The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, five complaints initially made by Iowa included one involving a verbal altercation between Hawkeye Band director Eric Bush and the ISU facilities and grounds director Tim VanLoo as the Iowa band was beginning to exit the field, according to ISU Police chief Michael Newton. Documents revealed Thursday indicate that VanLoo apologized to Bush later that night.
“Eric, I want to apologize for being completely out of character,” VanLoo wrote in an email to Bush. “The man you saw is not who I am, nor is it the way I want to represent ISU.
“I let my challenging stressful day effect how I treated you and your band members. Again, I am sorry for the way I acted and treated you. You deserved better!”
Bush accepted VanLoo's apology the following day. “I appreciate you apologizing,” Bush replied. “My reaction was strong, but I assure you it wasn’t personal — just a natural defense of my students and staff.”
During a Sept. 24 news conference on the reported confrontation between fans and band members, ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard said the Hawkeye Marching Band chose to leave through a crowded exit — where band members said they experienced much of the abuse — despite suggestions from facilities personnel to use a different exit. As reported by The Gazette, Pollard said the UI band would have been smart to take the suggestion of facilities personnel and exit through another gate.
However, Hawkeye band members have disputed Pollard’s suggestion that they ignored ISU direction, and said they simply left through the gate closest to their bus.