A state senator says Iowa shouldn’t stand for what Stanford’s band did at halftime during the Rose Bowl last month. The Stanford band put on what it called a “Farmers Only…corn show” — complete with cow tipping — to mock its Rose Bowl opponents: the University of Iowa. Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Ottumwa, married into a family of Hawkeye fans and he was not amused.
“This was very disrespectful not only to the fans of the University of Iowa, but also to Iowans in general,” Chelgren says. “I was disappointed and I would like to see Stanford have the courage to stand up and say: ‘This was wrong,’ and to make a public apology.” Chelgren’s sponsoring legislation that calls on the University of Iowa and the other two universities that get state tax-dollar support to cut ties with any Stanford researchers until that apology is made.
“There are areas of the country that apparently don’t share our Iowa values and I think we need to stand up for those virtues and values,” Chelgren says, “and this is one way to do that.” Chelgren’s daughter — who went to the University of Iowa — was at the game. “We’ve always taught our family to cheer as loud as you can for your team, but not really boo the other team, because they’re someone’s kids,” Chelgren says. “This just showed such a lack of respect for any kind of sportsmanship that I thought a statement had to be made.”
State Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, represents the University of Iowa. He was watching the Rose Bowl and saw the halftime show on T-V — until E-S-P-N cut away from the performance before it concluded. “I think what they did was offensive, but I don’t think you can blame the institution of Stanford for that,” Dvorsky says. That’s because the Stanford band is not a university-sanctioned group.
“It’s not like the Hawkeye Marching Band,” Dvorsky says. “…It’s just some loosely-organized student organization.” Stanford officials had prohibited the band from traveling to The Cardinal’s road games this past season because of bad behavior, but the band was at the Rose Bowl for Stanford’s 45-to-16 victory over the Hawkeyes. Chelgren’s bill isn’t likely to pass the state senate, but Dvorsky isn’t suggesting Chelgren withdraw it.
“It sends a message,” Dvorsky says. “We didn’t like that.” Chelgren, who grew up in California, is running for congress this year — hoping to defeat Dave Loebsack, the lone Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation who also happens to live in Iowa City.