RIP Jim Gibbons
Jim Gibbons, a first team All-American wide receiver for Forest Evashevski's 1957 Iowa football team, died earlier this week at the age of 79. Gibbons caught 36 passes from Randy Duncan for 587 yards and four touchdowns that season; no other Iowa receiver caught more than eight. Gibbons led the Big Ten in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards per catch that season.
Gibbons also led the Hawkeyes in receptions during the 1956 Rose Bowl season, with 17 receptions for 255 yards and four touchdowns. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions, played in three Pro Bowls, and caught the longest game-winning pass in NFL history to beat the Baltimore Colts in 1960. In 1996, Gibbons was inducted to the Varsity Club Hall of Fame.
The first sign that school is back in session and football cannot get here soon enough: A UI professor says something guaranteed to infuriate the hardcore segment of the fanbase. Usually, it's something about the pink locker room or the amount of money being spent on football. This season, according to the Press-Citizen's Jeff Charis-Carlson, it's something far more sinister:
A University of Iowa professor is asking for the Department of Athletics to allow the university’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, to display a wider array of facial expressions in university publications.
“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics at UI, wrote recently in an email to UI athletic department officials. “And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words. However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, faces conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence are not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.”
Oral’s message to the Faculty Senate came in response to a series of posters and fliers on campus with messages welcoming new students — “On Iowa! Welcome Class of 2020! You’ll always be a Hawkeye. This is where it begins” — atop the images of Herky or the Tigerhawk.
“I would like to bring to the Faculty Senate’s attention that the attached Herky images are totally against the nonviolent, all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages we are trying to convey through campus,” Oral wrote in the email to her fellow senate members.
Let's start here: The term "Hawkeyes" isn't even in reference to an animal. It's a character from Last of the Mohicans. Iowa adopted a bird as the mascot because we're not Illinois.
But this isn't Iowa Hawkeyes University. The mascot is representative of the sports programs. Herky is not meant as a symbol of "nonviolent, all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages," but, rather, as a symbol of a horde of Vandals coming to sack your city. If using it in a non-athletic student activity doesn't convey the proper message, then the activity shouldn't use it. If you want a smiling bird, go to Ames.
BTN Up! All Night
Iowa has three non-conference games on the BTN's television schedule, released yesterday: Seton Hall (11/17, 8 p.m. CT), North Dakota (12/20, 8 p.m. CT) and Delaware State (12/22, 8 p.m. CT). BTN is televising 48 non-conference basketball games. There remains an open spot on the BTN schedule for December 3, when Iowa hosts Nebraska-Omaha, so the Hawkeyes could potentially get a fourth game on the network.
I wanted to write with righteous indignation about the lack of games on BTN, but Iowa's schedule left few opportunities for the conference's network to feature the Hawkeyes. Television plans have already been announced for Iowa's non-conference games with Notre Dame (ESPN2) and Iowa State (ESPN2). Its games at the Emerald Coast Classic will be on CBS Sports Network under sponsorship from the tournament, and its Big Four Classic game against UNI typically ends up on a Fox Sports regional broadcast. Just six games, all against should-be-overmatched opponents, have not yet been decided (and Nebraska-Omaha could change).
The bigger issue is the tip times. BTN coverage just moved three weekday tipoffs to 8 p.m., which generally leads to lackluster attendance.
Et Cetera, Etc.
The state of Iowa ranked sixth on The Ringer's list of the states with the best college football mood entering the 2016 season. And then the author wrote eight words about the state.
Former Iowa baseball player Joel Booker, who was taken in the 22nd round of the MLB Draft this summer, is batting .323 and tearing up the basepaths in the Pioneer League.
WIsconsin offensive lineman Dan Voltz was forced to quit football due to ongoing injuries. Voltz was Wisconsin's most experienced offensive lineman for 2016, with 27 career starts and 32 appearances.
You can take the horrible coach who doesn't remember the date of his mother's birthday out of Illinois, but you can never take the Illinois out of the horrible coach who doesn't remember the date of his mother's birthday.
From the estimable NandO photographer Robert Willett, Tim Beckman at UNC practice earlier (w/orange-tinted glasses): pic.twitter.com/nQAtLOtZ1c— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) August 24, 2016
Big Ten opener news: Junior Chris Laviano has been named the starting quarterback at Rutgers. Laviano beat out highly-touted TCU transfer Zach Allen. Rutgers hosts Iowa on September 24.
For those who want more information on how Iowa's offense works, mgoblog breaks down the reach block, one of the essential offensive line plays in Iowa's running game.