Editorial: ISU, Iowa have no responsibility in UNI athletics


Korrie Bysted/Iowa State Daily

The Cyclones defeated the Panthers 31-7 in their season debut at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Editorial Board

In relation to the Northern Iowa, both Iowa State and the Iowa have a massive student population. Iowa State topped out at 36,001 students in the fall of 2015 while Iowa was at 32,150. Both with significantly larger student populations than Northern Iowa, which has only reached 11,981 students.

From the size of the student population, one can draw a conclusion as to the size of each university athletic department.

Iowa State and Iowa both have significant programs with large teams and facilities — both being in a Power 5 conference and with football teams competing at the Division I FBS level. However, it seems that one Iowa senator has an issue with UNI’s current standing hierarchy.

Sen. David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan, has proposed a bill that would provide more funding for the UNI athletic department but this increase would come at the expense of the other two regent universities’ athletic program. During the course of five years, Iowa and Iowa State would have $4 million reallocated to Northern Iowa to cushion its athletic department.

This $4 million would include money from game revenue, television contracts and other donor relationships that have allowed Iowa and Iowa State’s athletic programs to grow and compete.

Johnson argues because Iowa and Iowa State have successful prorgrams and facilities like Hilton Coliseum and Kinnick Stadium, these schools should take responsibility to help UNI build its athletics. However, this logic is flawed and unclear. 

The way the senator has framed his argument, in favor of this reallocation, places blame on Iowa and Iowa State for growing to the size they have, while UNI has remained a smaller institution.

In this proposal, Johnson is insinuating it is a responsibility of the two larger state universities to improve a program for which they have no relation, except for the days Iowa or Iowa State plays UNI on the court or field. To add insult to injury, this bill also frames UNI as a charity case that cannot build its own programs.

Speaking for Iowa State specifically, it is no secret our population has grown rapidly, and the money that is earned from any business endeavor — athletics included — is not something that should be forcefully handed out.