Bolander: More transparency needed from UI Athletics Department

BY JOSH BOLANDER | JUNE 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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I am an Iowan, through and through. Growing up here helped shape me into who I am today. I owe nearly everything I have accomplished to being raised in this state. And all that being said, we are loyal to a fault.

The same thing that distinguishes us from so many other places in the country also makes us susceptible to accepting things we shouldn’t.

The recent, self-reported infractions committed by several Iowa Athletics Department employees do not bother me. I’ve already processed it as a sports fan. After the initial denial, anger, reflection, and decision to work through the latest violations, I have accepted, like many fans of the Black and Gold, that minor discretions do not warrant outrage.

What does bother me is the lack of response from the higher-ups in the Athletics Department.

I have read the entire redacted-filled document that UI officials released to the public. I’ll admit that I am not an expert when it comes to NCAA compliance. If being a sports fan my entire life has taught me anything, it is that if there is something that can give an athlete or program an advantage, legal or illegal, it will, at the very least, be explored.

I don’t disagree with this. Coaches and athletics directors are paid to improve their programs.

Certain things are expected out of these individuals that people without all the details could never comprehend. High dollar equals high pressure.

Having said all of that, these individuals are being paid to represent this institution. There are violations from nine different sports. Shouldn’t that be taken into consideration after taking a step back?

NCAA guidelines can be complicated, of course. But that is what we are paying these individuals for, right? Rules are rules, whether they are major or not.

The university’s responses to nearly all of these violations, by coaches they hired, are redacted.

Names do not need to be released. I understand the privacy of student-athletes and prospective students is the UI’s top priority.

But the university has decided on at least some disciplinary actions for the violations, though. Why can’t the public see its response?

To be fair, university officials don’t have to. Iowa Code, Section 22.7, allows the university to keep these things private. Officials at any institution have this right. I’m not asking for a press conference.

Hell, I’m not even asking for a well-thought out press release. All I want is transparency, especially after this same university fumbled the ball on a number of high-profile cases over the past decade.

Don’t give me names. Give me information. Fans are continually reassured by people in positions of authority that they are doing everything in their power to make sure these kinds of slip-ups don’t happen. So when something as small as a few texts or phone calls comes to light, tell us what you are doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The colors black and gold mean more to native Iowans than just a uniform design. This is our home. These are the teams we love — unless of course you have crossed over to the dark side and support that school in Ames.

We have no professional sports team. We do not ask for much. Regardless of these violations, we will continue filling Kinnick and Carver and support whatever sports team dons the colors we bleed for.

We do deserve the truth, though — the whole truth. Is that too much to ask for?

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