Guest Opinion: Iowa and ISU fans need better sportsmanship

Two Iowa State alumni write about their daughter, a Hawkeye Marching Band member, and her experience with bad behavior from fans in the Cy-Hawk game Saturday.


Shivansh Ahuja

Spectators sit in the rain during a football game between Iowa and Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, September 14, 2019. The Hawkeyes retained the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the fifth consecutive year, downing the Cyclones, 18-17.

As proud Iowa State University alums, we were mortified to learn of our daughter’s experience at the 2019 Cy-Hawk game as a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band. She described ISU fans who swore at the band, yelled “go home,” and continuously flipped them the bird.

As ISU alums, we are appalled that our daughter had to endure such vulgarity at our alma mater. We were equally saddened to find out that the ISU Marching Band had a similar experience at Kinnick Stadium last year.

What used to be and should be a good-natured rivalry has turned into a verbally violent and aggressive display of misplaced loyalty by fans of both teams to the point that the band is being targeted with vulgar, disrespectful, and almost bordering on abusive, behavior.

We challenge ISU and Iowa fans to step up their game to show positive sportsmanship. Cheer on your team, but leave at home the vulgarity and abusive behavior towards members of the opposing school. When the band, cheer squad, and dance team of either team passes by, tell them, “Great job and good luck!” These young people put in many hours of hard work to bring entertainment and energy to the game. They deserve to be treated respectfully, no matter which team they support.

We say a big thank you to those ISU fans who told members of the Hawkeye Marching Band that they did a good job and even said “good game” after a close and heartbreaking loss for ISU. Similar kudos to Hawkeye fans who treated ISU band members with the decency and respect they deserve at last year’s game. 

You are true Cyclones and Hawkeyes embodying all that is good about both universities.


— Laura Amsler, ISU Class of 1986

— Jim Cain, ISU Class of 1985