Hawkeyes Address Comments from Gary Dolphin

November 29, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – If you thought Iowa tight end Noah Fant seeing limited reps this season was a strange story, it may be topped by the current controversy surrounding Hawkeye basketball. It’s certainly trending that way.

Learfield, along with its partner, Iowa, suspended play-by-play voice Gary Dolphin for two games, they announced Wednesday. He was critical of the team’s recruiting and the play of guard Maishe Dailey during halftime. He thought his mic was off at the time.

It’s become a national story. Thursday, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery met with the media for the first time since Dolphin’s comments were made public. He was not pleased.

“I was disappointed in those comments. I think when one of our own attacks one of our players the way he did, it’s inexcusable. And it’s over. We dealt with it. And we’re moving on. Getting ready for Wisconsin,” the coach said.

If the story ended there, while out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t be head-scratching. A topic you’d think the university would want to go away, is being kept alive by it.

It started with Athletic Director Gary Barta adding into his statement on the suspension that there were “ongoing tensions” between Dolphin and McCaffery.

“I think it’s fairly well known we’ve had some issues. But we’ve gotten along fine. I’m disappointed in him,” McCaffery said of Dolphin.

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The two men butted heads when Dolphin asked McCaffery about former player Adam Woodbury poking an opponent in the eye. The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman reported on an incident (subscription) when Dolphin gave tickets to Wisconsin fans from Dubuque who sat next to Margaret McCaffery during a game against the Badgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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Barta was requested to talk about his “ongoing tensions” comment and the suspension at Thursday’s press conference. The media was told that he would take questions on Friday night before the No. 14 Hawkeyes play host to No. 22 Wisconsin. Sports Information Director Steve Roe said they’re still working through some details regarding the Gary Dolphin situation.

What details? We don’t know. But it extends the story another day and, like the “ongoing tensions” comment, leaves people wondering what’s going on. And questions are put on hold until right before the team’s biggest game of the season to date.

It could be seen as a distraction. The Iowa players say it’s not.

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“It’s a tough situation but we’re not really looking into it much. We’re just looking at the next game on the schedule. We have a really good team this year. We kind of had the mentality at the beginning of the year that no matter what happens on or off the court, we’re going to stay together. That’s what we’re going to continue to do no matter what happens,” junior point guard Jordan Bohannon said.

Dailey was requested for interviews here Thursday but was not available. McCaffery said he spoke with his junior guard about Dolphin’s comments regarding his play.

“It was incredibly unfair. He has played extremely well for us. He plays hard. He’s a good person. He didn’t deserve it. But he’s also a young guy with tremendous character. So I’ve been really impressed with him and how he’s handled everything,” the coach said.

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