Have you ever seen a piece of legislature being discussed in a local, state or federal government and thought to yourself “Don’t they have more important things to worry about?” In the same week Iowa is celebrated for its political involvement on the presidential campaign trail, we must ask that very question today. That is because a piece of state legislature is now threatening to prohibit Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa from associating in any way with Stanford University unless the Pac-12 school’s marching band issues a formal apology to the state of Iowa.
The bill was introduced to the Iowa Capitol by Senator Mark Chelgren (R) as a result of the show of poor sportsmanship from the Stanford marching band’s halftime performance at the Rose Bowl, which poked fun at the state of Iowa and its farming culture.
“I think it’s unfortunate because here in Iowa we try to teach sportsmanship,” Chelgren said, according to Des Moines Register. “We try to teach courtesy, and when someone behaves in a way that is contrary to that, we need to point it out.”
The bill would still allow for sports competitions between Stanford and the three state universities to be held and any contracts between the schools already signed off on will be honored. Basically, this is political grandstanding at the expense of the Stanford marching band, which may just be a waste of time because there is no way the Stanford band is going to apologize for their Rose Bowl performance.
This now being a political issue, one Iowa Democrat says the bill only ends up hurting Iowa universities.
“I think what they did was offensive, but I don’t think you could blame the institution of Stanford University for it,” Sen. Robert Dvorsky (D) said. “I understand that some people were offended. Here is the problem: It is not an official Stanford marching band. They are just a student organization. It is not like the Hawkeye Marching Band and people should be aware of that. It is just some sort of loosely organized student organization.”
The answer to the earlier question is yes, there are more important things to be worried about in the Iowa government than hurt feelings over a halftime show at a bowl game.