NCAA Says No To Iowa’s Plan To Honor Former Player
Last weekend was the 20th anniversary of the death of former Iowa star forward Chris Street, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1993. For the weeks leading up to last Saturday’s game with Wisconsin in Iowa City, Hawkeye officials had been tossing around ideas to honor Street. They came up with a number of different tributes, including wearing special commemorative jerseys with “Street” on the back in the place of each individual player’s last name. For that one they’d need NCAA approval.
The NCAA’s response: No.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery told the Des Moines Register the NCAA feared too many teams would seek similar exceptions if it granted this one:
There have been so many exception requests, I think they decided, ‘The rule stands as it is and that’s pretty much what it was.
If you start granting exceptions, then every game somebody wants to do something for some other reason, some other legitimate cause. They just didn’t want to do that.
I understand the whole ‘if we do it for you, we have to do it for everybody’ thinking. The NCAA oversees a lot of teams in a lot of sports and so it seems that the rule makes sense if they don’t allow exceptions. But they do.
Both Providence and Xavier were permitted to wear special jerseys last month honoring the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Providence’s jerseys had “Sandy Hook” on the back in place of their players’ last names, while Xavier’s replaced its school name on the front with “Sandy Hook.”
I’m not suggesting that Chris Street’s death, as tragic as it was, parallels Sandy Hook, but isn’t a ‘no exceptions’ policy just that?
Iowa did find other ways to honor Street at the game Saturday, including special t-shirts the team wore during warmups and the presentation of the game ball to the Street family after the game.
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Chris Street was a standout at Indianola High School, before joining the Hawkeyes program. in 1989. In the first 15 games of the 1992–93 season Street averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. In his final game, he scored 14 points and collected eight rebounds in a loss at Duke. It was in that game that he also set a school record by hitting his 33rd and 34th consecutive free throws.
On January 19, 1993, following a team dinner at the Highlander Inn outside of Iowa City, Street was killed when his car pulled onto the highway and collided with a snow plow.