UI wants athletes to back 21-ordinance

BY EVELYN LAU | APRIL 09, 2010 7:30 AM

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University of Iowa officials may look to student-athletes as the next voices to endorse the newly passed 21-ordinance.

During a meeting with the Presidential Committee on Athletics Thursday, Provost Wallace Loh brought up the possibility of getting “outstanding leaders” on board to serve as role models for their student peers, bringing with them a ripple of opposition to the vocal anti-21 sentiment on campus.

Passed Tuesday, the ordinance will go into effect June 1, requiring all bars to go 21-only after 10 p.m.

“Nobody among the students has come forward and said, ‘This is the right thing to do,’ ” Loh said during the meeting, which Athletics Director Gary Barta attended. “I wouldn’t expect them to. The vast majority on board are against it.

“My question is — and I don’t know if this is out of line — is there any way of inquiring and encouraging some of our outstanding student-athletes to step up and say, ‘This is the right thing to do.’ ”

Committee members didn’t want to speak for all athletes, Barta told Loh. He said, though, he would propose the idea at a future Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Council meeting. That council is made up of student-athletes who represent Iowa athletics and the interests of their fellow Hawkeyes.

At least two prominent student-athletes told The Daily Iowan they support 21-only and wouldn’t have qualms endorsing it.

“I think that’s something, with a little bit of prodding, would be pretty easy to support,” said senior linebacker A.J. Edds, a football representative for the council who will graduate in May. “It won’t affect me one way or another, but if it were up to me, I think it would be good if it were 21-only. I think it’ll alleviate a lot of problems.

“That’s easy for me to say because I’m over 21. If I were younger, I might have a different opinion.”

Senior wrestler and 174-pound national champion Jay Borschel, another student-athlete committee member, agreed.

“I’m in favor of it,” the 23-year-old said. “People need to start realizing that they’re students first and that it’s time to grow up a little bit. We’re students; we’re not drunken fools.”

In the end, Barta said the 21-ordinance made “sense logically.”

“I’m pleased that we’re going to try this,” he said. “I’m responsible for a group of students, and it didn’t make sense that we had underage students going into the bars and the bar owners indicating themselves they couldn’t manage it.”

DI reporter Mitch Smith contributed to this report.

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