Column: Let’s rethink Cy-Hawk

There was a lot of negative news surrounding the Cy-Hawk rivalry game this year, giving us room to discuss the game and its history.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa State's offense prepares for a play 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. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

Football fans from the state of Iowa are often at their best when supporting their college team.

Take Iowa State fan Carson King, who has raised more than $1 million for the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital because of a sign held up on ESPN’s College GameDay on Sept. 14. Take the Iowa Wave. It’s awesome, and that’s what a lot of people from Iowa are like.

This is what the Cy-Hawk football game should be about, but somehow the emphasis of the game has turned negative. Each program should take a look at what it actually gains from the rivalry, and a discussion should be had about its existence – and maybe ultimately its survival.

This year’s Cy-Hawk football matchup was really the first ever to be on the national stage–  our chance to put all of these positive things in the headlines following the game. Cy-Hawk should be a time to reflect on what a great state we live in, and it should’ve been our opportunity to project that to the nation. But on Sept. 16, ESPN’s top article about the game regarded the treatment of marching bands, of all things.

It’s embarrassing, but not necessarily surprising, as it’s commonly known as the game where each fan base lets loose each year. There were 31 arrests around Jack Trice Stadium this year, according to the Iowa State police (though maybe we’re on a positive trend — there were 32 arrests in Ames on Cy-Hawk day two years ago).

But when there are current and former band students on the internet debating who had worse experiences at the other team’s stadium online, we’ve gone too far. Kids being on the receiving end of a Coors Light-projectile were some of the least disturbing trends in the conversation. Many members of the band aren’t even football fans; they’re just there to make music and spend time with friends, and yet many of them come away with horror stories.

Moreover, it’s not entirely clear what either program truly gains from the game. It’s not like the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama or the rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State, where the game fatally determines teams’ places in the conference standings. All we have here is an out-of-conference bragging-rights trophy that only upsets people, and it only has existed as we know it since 1977.

Further, the game is usually exciting, but the results are an afterthought come November. Fans don’t even think about it again until “Hate Week” next year.

I love football. So let’s use an extra week to add a home-and-home series with a different Power 5 team. It would energize the fanbase, it would give us something exciting, something fresh. Remember the last time Iowa played a nonconference Power 5 team not named Iowa State in Kinnick? Marshall Koehn kicked a game-winning field goal against Pittsburgh in 2015. Electric.

Going our separate ways could bring Iowa and Iowa State more national notoriety. It’s taken this long for GameDay to visit the game, but close your eyes and picture Nick Saban rolling up to Kinnick Stadium with the Crimson Tide. Kidding, but you get the point.

More importantly, our time on this Earth is fragile. Spending time getting in fights – verbal or physical – with band kids after a game is dumb. Spending time online fighting about events you didn’t see is a waste.

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