Iowa senator proposes bill complaining about the Stanford band

Dr. Saturday

Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, still feels disrespected by the antics of the Stanford band during the halftime of the Rose Bowl, and he wants one of the most prestigious universities in the world to apologize.

Chelgren introduced a bill Wednesday that would prohibit Iowa’s three universities — Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa — from cooperating with Stanford University until the school apologizes for the band making fun of Iowans during the halftime performance.

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The state board of regents shall prohibit any future collaboration or cooperation between the institutions of higher learning governed by the board and Stanford university, excluding sporting events, until Stanford university officials publicly apologize to Iowa’s citizens and to the university of Iowa for the unsporting behavior of the Leland Stanford junior university marching band.

Stanford’s band, which lives for infuriating the opposing side, put on a Farmers Only-themed halftime show, which included the theme song from the online dating site, a corn maze and a drunken cow among other things. Of course Iowa fans booed, which is exactly what the Stanford Band wanted.

And quote honestly, the halftime show wasn’t nearly as bad as Iowa’s showing in the 45-16 shellacking at the hands of the Cardinal.

Still, Chelgren wants Stanford to acknowledge its band was mean to Iowans.

"I think it's unfortunate because here in Iowa we try to teach sportsmanship," Chelgren said. "We try to teach courtesy, and when someone behaves in a way that is contrary to that, we need to point it out."

This has to be the dumbest, whiniest, pettiest, saddest bill ever proposed in a statehouse. OK, that’s probably untrue, but it’s got to be up there. This guy really wants to cut ties with one of the world’s premier universities because a student organization teased Iowans? Really?

Stanford band director Brad Hayward did issue a statement and provided the script of the performance on the organization’s Facebook page.

The Band's halftime show has provoked a variety of reactions. The performance was intended to be irreverent fun, given Iowa's connection to farming and Stanford's historical nickname "The Farm.” The script posted on the Band's Facebook page provides fuller context. We understand that some viewers took offense at the performance, which we regret and which will be the subject of further discussion with the Band's leadership.

While Chelgren, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for Congress in a district where the University of Iowa resides, probably derived some sort of pleasure from this statement, some of his fellow senators weren’t exactly thrilled with the bill in first place, including Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, who is the chairman of the Iowa Senate Education Committee and apparently a voice of reason.

"Stanford University is one of the premier research universities in the world and for us to cut off contact with Stanford over something that happened on a football field I think sinks to a level that would be unworthy of our fine research institutions," Quirmbach said.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!

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