Opinion: Iowa and Iowa State both share blame in marching band incident

It’s been known for years if you follow Iowa or Iowa State, this series is known to bring out the worst in the passionate fan bases on both sides of the rivalry. Unfortunately, things have really taken a turn for the ugly.

This past Monday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta issued a statement after receiving numerous reports from concerned parents that members of the Hawkeye Marching Band were harassed and in some cases assaulted.

The next day, Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard issued a statement of his own, stating that he received no reports from any police officers that were assigned to the band and claimed Barta’s statement was “pretty vague” and noted how he thought it was an attempt to tarnish how great of a day Saturday was.

From everything I had heard, from those in the athletic department to people who knew band members, said everything pointed in the direction of these allegations being true.

My suspicions were confirmed when this Facebook post was sent to me on Thursday night, which is a testimony from Hawkeye Marching Band member Corey Knopp.

The top paragraph of the post is in reference to the announcement that Gary Barta made on Thursday, declaring that the Iowa athletic department was no longer investigating the matter.

I, like many others, was extremely disappointed to hear that was how the investigation was going to conclude. The athletic department has let down the marching band.

While perhaps releasing a statement out of the blue on Monday was not the best way to go about this, it is even worse to end and investigation in which University of Iowa students were assaulted and injured.

In an administrative role, when multiple students are assaulted and injured, a four day investigation isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be a thorough investigation with a sense of purpose. It’s inexcusable from Iowa to let this investigation go without any sort of justice for those that were injured.

But, while Iowa is to blame for a quite a few reasons in this whole charade, Iowa State is nowhere near innocent in this as well.

Jamie Pollard’s statements came off as arrogant and self-centered in my eyes with his response to Barta’s statement on Tuesday. There’s absolutely no need to discuss how these allegations “damaged that [the game] nationally.”

The game isn’t what’s important Mr. Pollard. The safety of students is.

Perhaps the most disgusting thing about this scenario is the backlash from Iowa State fans on social media, who are essentially victim blaming and coddling their own.

I know this represents a very small portion of the Iowa State fan base. The Iowa State fan base I know are good people who were disgusted with the whole incident. But when there is photo evidence of physical harm, there is no two ways around this, something horrible happened.

To the athletic departments of Iowa and Iowa State: It is on you to make this right. Ending this investigation is no way to go about this, there needs to be more. Set the differences and egos to the side and work together to find a solution and make this better for everyone.

The Cy-Hawk series has reached a toxic phase, and a toxic rivalry is worse than not playing a rivalry at all.

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