Opinion | There are no fall sports in the Big Ten, but there are plenty of stories to tell

Following the Big Ten’s postponement of fall sports, it will be a while before a live Hawkeye sporting event takes place. But there are still plenty of stories to tell.


Shivansh Ahuja

Foam fingers sit on seats during the 2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl between Iowa and USC in San Diego on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Trojans, 49-24. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

I was in my hometown of Marion, Iowa, on Aug. 10, trying to keep track of the Big Ten and the chaos surrounding the conference’s impending decision to postpone fall sports.

It was a confusing day. Contradicting reports made it unclear if the Big Ten had even come to an official decision yet.

Then the wind started to pick up, the power went out, and when my two brothers and I emerged from our basement, we could hardly recognize our own neighborhood. The destruction caused by the derecho that day was, and still is, very evident.

Much of the next two days were full of trying to get a hold of a chainsaw and cleaning up the debris around our house — oh, and trying to figure out if the Big Ten had announced anything.

Without power or internet access, I was, both figuratively and literally, in the dark.

On Aug. 11, our second day without power and any knowledge of the happenings of the sports world, a text from The Daily Iowan sports editor Austin Hanson, who was also without power and internet for long stretches, appeared on my phone and clued me in.

There would be no Big Ten sports this fall.

I called our Executive Editor, Sarah Watson, on my mom’s phone, which luckily had service for a short period. I found out we had a reporter on the story.

After a long day with my family cutting up the trees that had fallen outside, I traveled back to my apartment in Iowa City that night. Fortunately, it had power and enough internet connection for me to catch up on the previous 36 hours.

It was a nightmare scenario for us as a sports section. But unfortunately, it wasn’t unfamiliar territory. As sports editor in the spring and over the summer, I led a section that had to operate, for the most part, without any live sports to cover.

The last live sporting event I covered was the 2020 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in Newark, New Jersey, on March 7-8. I can’t wait to be back in the press box of Kinnick Stadium again, or on press row at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In March, I formally accepted the position of Pregame Editor for this fall. I was ready for the challenge of leading the DI’s Hawkeye football coverage.

There are no live Hawkeye sports this fall. Winter sports are in question. Who knows if a potential football season is even going to happen, or when it will take place.

But there are still plenty of stories for us to tell.

Coaches and athletes in fall sports are preparing for seasons they aren’t even sure will occur.

Iowa’s winter sports collectively are maybe the most talented in the country. The Iowa men’s basketball team, headlined by Luka Garza, will be toward the top of the preseason polls. Hawkeye wrestling will be the national favorite. Both track and field programs have conference champions returning.

And then, of course, there’s a potential Big Ten football season.

The list goes on.

Unfortunately, that also includes the four Iowa programs — men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis — that will be discontinued at the end of the academic year. As a sports section, we are committed to telling the stories of these athletes, coaches, and all the other people who just had their program taken away.

Games, meets, events — they are all on hold for Iowa right now. But the people are still there.

And so are their stories.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

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