Iowa professor to protest pink visiting locker rooms

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The Iowa Hawkeyes have had a long-standing tradition of having the visiting locker room painted pink. It was a brain game move by former head coach Hayden Fry in 1979 and has remained a part of attempting to give Iowa a home field advantage. A professor at Iowa is planning a formal protest against the pink locker room at the same time the school plans to honor Fry on Friday.

Kembrew McLeod is organizing a “million robot march” to protest what he believes demonstrates the university allowing the football program to taunt an opponent by pushing homophobia and sexism. It has been suggested the pink finish in the locker room is designed to break down the visiting team’s mental toughness. Whether it works or not is probably uncertain for sure, but there must be something to having the pink finish all these years. This is hardly the first time a concern about the pink locker rooms has surfaced at Iowa though. the gimmick has been criticized by a number of feminists, lawyers, gay rights activists and more over the years, and there Will Likely be more to come in the future as long as the locker room remains pink.

McLeod tells the Associated Press he and his fellow protesters will dress as robots and shout “Binary code yes! Gender binaries no!” as they address their concerns on Friday.

Iowa has no plans to redo the visiting locker room at Kinnick Stadium.

“To tear that apart and spend the money right now to redo that just seems like a very low priority to me,” University of Iowa president Sally Mason said. “Would a pink locker room have been my first choice? Probably not. But that predates me by quite a little bit.”

Minnesota gives Fleck 1-year extension, plus raise

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck had his contract extended Wednesday by an additional year with a $1 million raise in annual salary, after the latest round of big spending by Big Ten rivals.

The new seven-year deal will run through the 2029 season, the university announced without releasing terms. Fleck will now make $6 million per year, a person with knowledge of the contract confirmed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been finalized.

Last week, Nebraska hired Matt Rhule and Wisconsin hired Luke Fickell to put them in the top tier of head coach compensation in the conference. In terms of average annual value, the 42-year-old Fleck is eighth in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Rhule, Fickell, Penn State’s James Franklin, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. All seven of those coaches make $7 million or more per season.

The Gophers (8-4) play Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. They’re 3-0 in bowl games under Fleck, who was hired away from Western Michigan in 2017.

Minnesota tied for second place in the Big Ten West Division this year, behind Purdue. Fleck is 43-27 overall with the Gophers, including 26-26 in conference play. They’re 0-6 against Iowa and 3-3 against Wisconsin, their primary rivals.

Fleck’s winning percentage is third-best in program history among coaches with 45 games or more, behind Henry Williams (1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (1932-41).

“What P.J. and his staff have done in a short amount of time is remarkable,” athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement distributed by the university. “He has recruited and developed some of the best student-athletes to ever play at Minnesota and his team continues to excel academically, athletically and socially.”

This is the fifth time in six years on the job that Fleck’s deal has been adjusted to keep up with the competition, as power conference coach contracts these days rarely have less than five years on them at any time. Minnesota extended his deal a year ago, too.

In that iteration of his contract, the termination fees Fleck would owe Minnesota if he were to hop to another program were bumped way up. Those numbers landed at $7 million in 2023, $5 million in 2024, $4 million in 2025 and $3 million in 2026. Details about those figures in the new deal were not immediately available.

Virginia players granted extra year of eligibility

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed.

Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. A former player at the school, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is facing three counts of second-degree murder and other charges in the shooting. A fourth player, Mike Hollins, and student Marlee Morgan were injured in the shooting.

Virginia canceled its final two games of the season after the shooting, and the team and university community memorialized the victims in a nearly two-hour service on campus. Team members also traveled to each of the three funerals held for their teammates.