When goal posts come tumbling down

Melissa Berg

When word got out that the Iowa State football team would return to Jack Trice Stadium after their victory over the University of Iowa on Sept. 12, many people gathered to congratulate them.

Michael Hiltgen, sophomore in industrial technology, was present at the stadium at about 6 p.m. when the goal posts on the practice field were torn down.

“[Department of Public Safety officers were] standing around trying to block people from getting to the goal posts,” Hiltgen said. “People just ran around to the other side [of the stadium] and got the practice field goal post.”

Hiltgen said the practice goal post was taken down and carried to Lake LaVerne behind an “escort of cars.”

“[The students] threw it in the lake, and about 30 people jumped in with it,” he said.

ISU head football coach Dan McCarney said he accepts the tradition as an example of school spirit.

“After the first game I coached at Iowa State, the team broke a 13-game losing streak to Ohio University, so when the goal posts went down it was appropriate,” McCarney said.

Charlie Partridge, graduate assistant coach, agreed that the tearing down of the goal posts was a sign of school spirit.

“It is a great example of support for our program, as long as we get the goal posts back,” he said.

Since McCarney came to ISU three-and-a-half years ago, there have only been four goal post incidents.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had enough big wins for there to be a problem with them being torn down,” McCarney said.

He cited the incidents such as the Ohio defeat, the win over Baylor University last year, the victory over U of I and Saturday’s Ball State University shutout.

The Baylor University win last year caused a stir among fans and DPS.

“After we defeated Baylor, fans were rushing the field,” said Brian Erwin, sophomore in business. “DPS was tackling people to the ground and handcuffing them. We still managed to get the posts down and dump them in the lake, though.”

As many fans at Saturday’s game discovered, ISU now has indestructible goal posts in Jack Trice Stadium.

Jerry Stewart, associate director of DPS, said the new goal posts were installed this summer.

“The fans still got to the recreational goal posts on Saturday after [ISU] beat Ball State,” Stewart said.

Scott White, manager of business and Recreational Services, said the recreational goal posts that were taken after the win over the Hawkeyes cost about $2,000 a pair to replace.

“A half dozen goal post pads were also taken from Jack Trice Stadium which cost $150 each to replace,” White said.

Five barricades, several different signs and a dumpster from the Memorial Union also were thrown into Lake LaVerne after the U of I game, Stewart said.

ISU is not the only school to participate in this kind of tradition. For decades, many schools across the country have practiced the goal post tradition.

Drake University football coach Chris Ash said he remembered Drake’s home victory over ISU in the mid-’80s, when the goal posts were torn down.

“Now the goal posts are locked, so no matter how hard they are beat on, they won’t come down,” Ash said.

Larry Bruner, associate athletics director at the U of I, said the university installed a goal post with a lock and hinge 10 to 12 years ago.

“We haven’t had a problem since,” Bruner said.

Mike Cassity, assistant head coach at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, said he only remembers one goal post being torn down.

“The only incident we have had in the last few years was last year, when we defeated Texas University,” he said.

Cassity said the university does not have any system to prevent the goal posts from being torn down, and that it is not a major problem.

However, the safety issue has been a concern for ISU DPS officials for several years.

“Saturday, after ISU defeated Ball State, two people were injured,” Stewart said. “One injury occurred at Lake LaVerne when a 14-year-old male cut his head when he jumped into the lake.”

He also said a Story County police officer was injured at the Baylor game last year.

“Safety is the overall primary concern,” Stewart said.