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Iowa Student Government Promotes Sportsmanship

In anticipation of what is sure to be a hostile environment at Kinnick Stadium tonight when the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-0) host the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-0), University of Iowa Student Government (UISG) sent a mass email to all Iowa students Friday afternoon encouraging good sportsmanship.

The email specifically asks Hawkeye fans not to boo when the Nittany Lions take the field. UISG president Nichols Pottebaum made the decision to send the email with the approval of Tom Rocklin, vice president of student life. Pottebaum also wrote a guest editorial in Friday’s edition of the Daily Iowan encouraging healthy competition and respect for Iowa’s Big Ten rival. The piece, titled “Hawkeyes Are Good Sports” was also signed by TJ McCann, president of the Hawks Nest — the official student section of Hawkeye Athletics.

“The President’s office supported the idea, but I made the final decision to have it sent. We wanted to take the opportunity to reinforce values and remind everyone to be a good sport,” said Pottebaum.

Iowa has played four home games so far this season including its Big Ten opener against Minnesota, and no email was sent leading up to those contests. Why now and did the events surrounding Jerry Sandusky prompt it?

Not exactly. School administrators heard about tactics other fan bases used to mock the situation including shirts of questionable taste, but Pottebaum believes a similar email would have been emphasized either way.

While it had not been distributed yet this season, a similar plea was made for big football games in past years and in other sports including basketball. Pottebaum cited the first night game of the season at Kinnick Stadium and playing home for the first time in three weeks as reasons for the timing along with the past history of the Penn State-Iowa series.

“I’m not sure if I would call it a rivalry or not, but the games between these two teams are usually close, and the result usually means something significant,” said Pottebaum.

The Big Ten Sportsmanship Agreement which was finalized in August 2011 after collaboration from students across the conference was also cited in Pottebaum’s column and email message.

“Regardless of the site of games, we want there to be respect everywhere,” said Pottebaum.

The full email text can be found below.

This Saturday, Hawks Nest and UISG challenge our fellow student to welcome our Big Ten rival, Penn State, with respect.

As students and fans, we strive to create a respectful and enjoyable environment for all Penn State fans, student-athletes, coaches, staff, and officials while maintaining a competitive spirit and exhibiting positive sportsmanship

The Big Ten Conference has one goal. No matter what colors we wear, we respect the game and each other. The student-led Big Ten Sportsmanship Agreement exhibits these values.

A few things we remind you to do:
–       Please refrain from booing Penn State when they enter the field.
–       Remain passionate throughout the course of the game with positive cheering and without degrading our opponent.
–       Create the loudest and most exciting atmosphere possible while maintaining full support of the University of Iowa.
–       Respect game officials.

As we cheer on a Hawkeye victory Saturday night, please remember that what is more important is welcoming the fans, coaches, and players of Penn State with respect. We are constant representatives of our institution and the Conference we share.

We are Bold. We are 1. We are Great. We are the B1G.

Go Hawks!

About the Author

Drew Balis

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.

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