Learfield suspends Gary Dolphin for two games

Iowa's play-by-play commentator has been suspended for his comments regarding Iowa's recruiting and guard Maishe Dailey.


Joseph Cress

Veteran voice of the Hawkeyes Gary Dolphin speaks with Iowa linebackers coach Seth Wallace during Iowa football media day on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. The Hawkeyes will play open up non-conference play against Wyoming at 11 a.m. (CT) on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

Gary Dolphin, the voice of the football and men’s basketball Hawkeyes, has been suspended by Learfield Sports after comments made during a break in the action of No. 15 Iowa’s 69-68 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday in Carver-Hawkeye.

The Panthers led, 46-40, at halftime, and Pitts freshmen guards Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens had 12 and 10 points, respectively.

During a commercial break, Dolphin’s mic was still on, and it picked up comments directed toward Iowa’s ability to recruit and the play of guard Maishe Dailey, who had 4 points and a turnover in eight first-half minutes.

“[Xavier Johnson] is pretty good, too. How do we not get anybody like that?” Dolphin said after the halftime buzzer. “Year after year after year … a key piece like that — just get one. [Pitt’s] got three or four. It’s the guy’s first year … We get Maishe Dailey, who dribbles into a double team with his head down. Three pure freshmen. Two of them are in double figures. I like them.”

After the conclusion of Tuesday’s game, Dolphin issued an on-air apology.

“We want to offer a public apology, and it won’t happen again,” Dolphin said following the win. “You have to assume there’s an open mic all the time, and that is no excuse. We said it. We own it. So our sincere apologies on behalf of the Hawkeye Radio Network to Coach [Fran] McCaffery and his team.”

Dolphin, alongside color commentator Bobby Hansen, has covered Iowa basketball for 22-straight seasons.

Hawkeye Athletics Director Gary Barta issued a statement on Wednesday and while doing so, revealed that there have been “built-up tensions over the past couple of years” between Dolphin and the program.

“Gary knows we are extremely disappointed in the comment he made about Maishe Dailey and the impact his remark had on our players and staff,” Gary Barta said in a release. “The two-game suspension is a result of those comments, as well as some ongoing tensions that have built up over the past couple of years. This time away from the microphone will allow a chance to work through some of these issues. I truly appreciate the time and energy Gary puts into promoting Hawkeye Athletics. I’m extremely proud of our student-athletes and coaches’ great start to the season. All focus and attention is on beating Wisconsin Friday night.”

Learfield said that the replacement for Dolphin on play-by-play has not been chosen, but the company will announce the decision when a selection has been made.

Learfield Vice President of Broadcast Operations Tom Boman issued a statement as well, citing technical errors as the reason Dolphin’s comments went on air.

“We unfortunately encountered a technical error at our network broadcast operations center that allowed off-air comments to be aired during a portion of the first-half commercial break,” Boman said in a release. “We thoroughly reviewed the situation here at our Broadcast Ops center to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and we’ve also been communicating closely with Gary Barta and his administration, the entire broadcast team, and our local Hawkeye Sports Properties staff.”

Iowa will host Wisconsin on Friday for its Big Ten opener, with at tip-off set for 7:06 p.m. in Carver.

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