As the Big Ten officially announced their move to a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 football season, effectively cancelling this year’s edition of the annual CyHawk football game, disappointment understandably permeated through social media immediately following the announcement.
However, very few appear to be more saddened by the news than the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band and director Eric Bush.
“After last season’s debacle, we had been practicing throughout the spring and summer for our shot at redemption this September in the CyHawk game,” said Bush in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
After the 2019 edition of the CyHawk showdown, controversy arose after Iowa band members accused Iowa State fans of harassing and assaulting them as they left the stadium to return to the band’s charter buses. In a press conference later the following week, Jamie Pollard announced that after a thorough investigation, which included significant help from the Ames, University of Iowa, ISU Police Departments, that none of the five incidents outlined in his initial call could be corroborated with evidence, and could not be pursued any further.
It was also found that the Hawkeye Marching Band appeared not to have followed instructions for leaving the stadium, as they exited the stadium to the north along the Jacobson Building, packed tight alongside exiting fans, rather than through Gate 1 to the east as instructed.
Iowa State released security footage of the the band leaving the field.
When asked about what the offseason training for the Hawkeye Marching Band entailed Bush replied:
“We wanted to use a system of positive reinforcement from the very beginning to ensure that we had a great foundation in place. We started with simple commands like ‘stay’ and ‘come’, being sure to reward the band members with treats after every successful completion of a particular instruction.”
“There were a few hiccups along the way, and a tuba had a small accident on the floor, but overall we were very happy with the progress we were making.”
After that progress eventually built all the way up to mastery of more complex commands such as “go through this gate, not that one,” Bush and his Marching Hawkeyes were ready for their shot at redemption, especially since it would come on their home field.
“We really felt like we had a great opportunity to write our own comeback story, especially since it would be at the same field we’ve been practicing at. Now, that opportunity has been taken away from us, and I have to go look my band members in the face and tell them that we just won’t be able to go for a walk today.”
Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta unexpectedly also released a statement, vehemently denying any involvement in the alleged harassment, despite never being accused of or even tangentially connected to them in the first place. He concluded the statement by saying that all media should contact his lawyer if they wished to ask any more questions.