College Football: 1 Reason Iowa and Iowa State Might not Play Again

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Iowa and Iowa State might have their rivalry suspended after an incident during the 2019 matchup.

Whether it’s Seneca Wallace scrambling for first downs or Drew Tate, throwing deep bombs, the battles between Iowa and Iowa State are considered some of the best in the Midwestern portion of the college football world. 

This year, the battle for the coveted Cy-Hawk Trophy was another eventful one, this time for the wrong reasons. Let’s take a look at the rivalry and go over the incident that puts the future of this game in jeopardy.

The Iowa vs. Iowa State rivalry

Iowa and Iowa State started playing their college football rivalry in 1894, and Iowa currently holds the edge 45-22. The biggest victory in the series was a 57-3 beatdown by the Hawkeyes in 1985, and they have won five straight in the rivalry.

Iowa State has some memorable wins in the rivalry, too. The Cyclones handed the Hawkeyes their lone regular-season loss in 2002, which took Iowa out of the running for the national championship.

The Cy-Hawk Trophy was introduced in 1977 and was redesigned at the start of the decade.

The 2019 meeting

Iowa and Iowa State might have their rivalry suspended after an incident during the 2019 matchup.
Iowa’s Nate Stanley stares down Iowa State defenders. | David K Purdy/Getty Images

The Hawkeyes won a very close game, 18-17, over Iowa State. A field goal with less than five minutes left and some strong defensive play secured the win for Iowa.

Iowa has looked good at times this season, and it was ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll at the time of the victory. Will that momentum from the win carry over into Big Ten play? It hasn’t yet. Iowa lost a defensive struggle against coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan on Oct. 5, and it faces college football powerhouses Penn State and Wisconsin later in the season.

Iowa State will look to make noise in the Big 12, but it may be a problem with some of the offensive heavyweights in the conference. Texas continues to improve under Tom Herman, and Oklahoma’s star quarterback Jalen Hurts is the early favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

One reason Iowa and Iowa State might not play again

After the game, Iowa band members reported incidents where they were physically, verbally, and sexually harassed. In total, five separate incidents were noted by the Hawkeyes’ deputy athletic director. 

After hearing about the incidents, University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld was very upset with the news. He told local reporters:

“I’m not convinced at all that we should play this game again — here or there or anywhere — unless we can protect our fans, our band, and of course our athletes. If, for some reason, one party or the other doesn’t come to the table, then no, why would we?”

We have to stand with Iowa’s President in this instance. The safety of the band is just as important as the safety of players and coaches, as they are representatives of the school. 

Iowa State’s investigation into the matter was discussed during a joint press conference with Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard and ISU Police Chief Michael Newton.

“Chief Newton and his team, fully investigated to the best of our ability, those five incidents, and concluded that it was going to be really tough to know exactly what happened,” Pollard said.

Pollard also provided a brief explanation of how the scenario could have happened, explaining that Iowa’s band left the field out of the wrong exit, which resulted in them interacting with fans leaving the game.

That is simply an excuse, and it tries to pin the blame on the band for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One of the members of the band told the press that a female band member had her a broken rib from an assault, where two men cornered her.  

Is the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry dead?

We think it will take beefing up security for future games, and possibly a public apology from Pollard, before the two sides can sit down about another potential game. Using the excuse of “it’s tough to figure out what happened” shouldn’t be the main way of thinking when it involves an assault of any kind on a university or campus.

However, if the rivalry does go away, it might die a slow death. The two teams already have each other on the schedule every year through 2025.