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Eye Openers: Iowa, Minnesota cuts are only the beginning
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Eye Openers: Iowa, Minnesota cuts are only the beginning

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You just knew when the University of Iowa eliminated four sports for budgetary reasons a few weeks ago, it was only the beginning of what likely will be an avalanche of reductions around the Big Ten Conference.

Minnesota followed suit last week by also trimming four men’s sports: indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, gymnastics and tennis.

The hits are going to keep on coming in the weeks and months ahead. Every Big Ten school is being decimated by the loss of millions of dollars in football revenue.

How long before Michigan State and Wisconsin chop their men’s tennis and men’s swimming programs?

When will Indiana and Maryland, who get pummeled in wrestling by the powerhouse programs in the league, decide to just trash their programs?

Will Michigan and Ohio State decide that having men’s lacrosse is a luxury they can’t afford?

Will there be any men’s gymnastics programs left in the league when this is over?

With Iowa and Minnesota eliminating the sport, there now are only five men’s gymnastics teams left in the Big Ten and only 12 in the entire country. You wonder if Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State might decide to also eliminate the sport.

It’s going to be ugly. This is only the beginning.

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There is an intriguing parallel between the Iowa and Minnesota cuts. Iowa eliminated men's swimming even though it was scheduled to host the NCAA championships this spring.

Want to guess who was hosting the NCAA men's gymnastics meet? Yup, Minnesota. Probably not any more.

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By the way, the only Division I schools outside the Big Ten that still sanction men’s gymnastics are California, Stanford, Oklahoma, William & Mary, Army, Navy and Air Force.

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It’s only one game, but it definitely looked as though former Clinton High School star David Johnson is back to the form he showed in his breakout 2016 season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Johnson, now with the Houston Texans, rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries and caught 3 passes for 32 yards in a season-opening loss to Kansas City on Thursday. He looked like the DJ of old on a slithering 19-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

People who picked him up in the seventh or eighth round of fantasy drafts probably got a steal.

***

There are 29 former Iowa players on active rosters as the NFL season really gets going today and a few of them have been elevated to larger roles than in the past, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Jaleel Johnson is now a starting defensive tackle with the Vikings after three seasons backing up Linval Joseph.

Josey Jewell, who started just 12 games at inside linebacker in his first two seasons in Denver, is listed No. 1 on the Broncos’ depth chart following the release of incumbent Todd Davis.

Anthony Nelson is expected to take on a larger role as an outside linebacker with the Bucs after seeing very little action as a rookie.

And then there’s Christian Kirksey. He’s not as new to the NFL as those other guys — he was among the league’s leading tacklers in 2016 and 2017 while toiling in the anonymity of Cleveland — but he seems to have been reborn as a free agent in Green Bay after two injury-filled seasons.

Packers officials have gushed over the way he has become an immediate leader at linebacker.

"He’s healthy and I think he adds a little bit of dynamic ability that maybe we’ve been missing for a little while," general manager Brian Gutekunst said.

***

Skip Bayless has said a lot of heartless and insensitive things through the years, but he may have taken things to a new extreme on his daily Undisputed show last week.

Bayless said he had no sympathy for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who went public with the fact that he suffered from depression earlier this year.

Not only was there the weight of the pandemic and racial turmoil around the country, but Prescott lost his mother to cancer a few years ago and his older brother committed suicide last spring.

But Bayless said that as the quarterback of "America’s team," Prescott should not be showing that level of vulnerability. He felt he was hurting his team by talking about it.

Bayless prefaced his comments by saying: "I’m going to ask our audience to feel free to go ahead and condemn me, if you choose, as cold-blooded and insensitive on this issue."

Consider that done.

***

I’m going to guess that Bayless was unaware that his comments came on World Suicide Prevention Day. Even he isn’t that callous, is he?

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Four members of the University of Iowa women’s swimming & diving program have filed a Title IX complaint regarding the university’s decision to discontinue the program following the current academic year.

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