Officials from Iowa State, Iowa and the Iowa Corn Growers Association spent at least four months planning, designing and gauging public opinion before unveiling a new Cy-Hawk football trophy on Aug. 19.
The trophy, which generated criticisms and questions ranging from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to iconic former Iowa coach Hayden Fry, was scrapped four days later.
Emails obtained by the Des Moines Register through an Iowa Open-Records Act request reveal the careful approach all three parties took when retiring the old trophy, which had been used since 1977, and developing a replacement.
Iowa Corn Growers Association communications director Mindy Williamson told the Register on Thursday that an interim trophy, which includes a football, will be on the Iowa sideline during Saturday’s in-state game in Ames.
Williamson declined, however, to offer other details about the much-discussed trophy.
This week alone, Williamson said, more than 120 public submissions have been received by Iowa Corn for a more permanent replacement scheduled to debut in 2012.
The proposed design for the new trophy featured a farm family huddled around a bushel basket of corn.
Emails reflected how discussions unfolded and the negative public reaction received when a new trophy was unveiled at the Iowa State Fair, eventually prompting officials to go back to drawing board.
–An email dated May 19 indicated Iowa State officials “have signed off” on suggested names for highlighted sporting events connected with the new sponsor relationship, such as the “Iowa Corn Bowl” for the annual football game and “Iowa Corn Classic” for men’s and women’s basketball games.
In that email, Malchow indicated early disagreements about trophy concept existed. “It is so good to hear that we might be closer to a consensus than originally thought.”
–On July 5, Iowa State associate athletic director Steve Malchow outlined his suggestions for a visual approach in a July 5 email to Williamson: Malchow indicated he “Google imaged some ideas” that included the Jim Thorpe Award and Frank Broyles award “for their simplicity” and “several images of a farmer and a kid together.”
–A “growing group debate” was outlined in a July 8 email from WIlliamson to Malchow. Williamson wrote that Iowa Corn chief executive officer Craig Floss “said the only change to the letter, would be to include something about Iowa Corn paying for the permanent display in the Hall of Pride (but worded differently of course). We just thought that might be a sticking point if they thought they might have to pay for the retirement (of the old trophy).”
–On July 15, Malchow wrote to Williamson that he pointed out “that we need to make sure the family is dressed in a matched fashion. In other words, if the dad has a long-sleeved flannel shirt, make sure Mom doesn’t have a sleeveless blouse.”
Malchow addressed decisions about trophy colors in the email, as well: “I didn’t care for the idea to introduced schools colors (on the trophy base). What trophy have you seen that is considered colorful?”
Other emails indicated Rick Klatt, an Iowa associate athletic director, was in favor of including school colors, however.
–A July 20 email from Klatt to Malchow talked about language the group might consider when describing the yet-to-be-debuted trophy. Klatt offered dialogue that supported the trophy concept: “The image — a father and his won, and a mother and her daughter, sharing a moment at the end of a day on the family farm — also salutes the rich tradition and significant role the agricultural industry has in the history and the future of our great state.”
–A day later, Klatt emailed Malchow to agree on talking points to the public that included each university would “confirm the institutions agreed months ago to make a change” and a representative of the Greater Des Moines Athletic Club (the organization behind the existing trophy) “endorsed the decision.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football