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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 21, 2003

Skorton, Ferentz, Student Leaders Urge Safety, Civility At Games

University of Iowa President David Skorton, student leaders and head football coach Kirk Ferentz today called on UI students and all fans of the Hawkeyes to renew their commitment to safety in tailgating and to civility in cheering on the nationally ranked Iowa football team.

Following the Oct. 4 homecoming game with Michigan, UI officials heard numerous complaints from Iowa and Michigan fans of uncivil and dangerous behavior, such as throwing beer cans and bottles at fans walking to the game.

Skorton and UI Student Government President Nate Green both pointed to the sale of vulgar T-shirts at the Michigan game as a sign of poor sportsmanship. They called on all Hawkeye fans to be more respectful, especially towards fans from visiting teams.

"These T-shirts are offensive not only to our guests, but also to the majority of Hawkeye fans," Skorton said. "Although we have been advised by legal counsel that it would be unconstitutional to ban vulgar T-shirts from Kinnick Stadium, that does not mean that we have to condone them. In fact, we condemn them, and we urge all Iowa fans to express their support for the Hawks in positive ways that do not demean our guests."

"This is just poor sportsmanship, and it does not reflect well on the University of Iowa," Green said. "That's unfortunate, because we have more students attending football games this year, and we have been told that student behavior inside of Kinnick Stadium has been good. We appeal to all fans to be responsible and to be respectful of others."

Skorton noted that the entire Big Ten Conference has embarked on a campaign to improve behavior at sporting events. The Big Ten has created a Big Ten Fans Creed, which calls for fans to wear school colors with pride, "cheer at the top of our lungs; sing our school song off-key; respect conference traditions; support our team, win or lose; and treat our visitors with respect."

UI officials also announced that concerns about safety have prompted restrictions on tailgating in University Parking Lot 6, at the corner of Melrose and Grand avenues, south of the University Field House. The new rules will be implemented this Saturday, Oct. 25, for the Iowa-Penn State football game and will remain in place for home games with Illinois and Minnesota.

"Because tailgaters in Lot 6 have put other fans at risk of serious injury, we are compelled to take action," Skorton said. "It's clear that this behavior is directly related to excessive drinking, including likely underage drinking, in this area. There is simply no justification for this dangerous behavior."

The restrictions include the following:

- Lot 6 will be opened later than usual, at 8:30 a.m. Other football game parking lots will open at 7 a.m.

- Only people with football game tickets will be allowed in Lot 6, regardless whether they arrive in autos or on foot.

- No one will be allowed to remain in the parking lot once the football game begins.

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, 319-335-0552, steven-parrott@uiowa.edu.