University of Iowa booster Nick Ryan has paid $12,000 for an ad supporting recently suspended broadcaster Gary Dolphin. Ryan is an Iowa businessman and political fundraiser. His ad features clips of Dolphin calling Hawkeye football and basketball games and ends with the message “Gary Dolphin: Hawkeye to his core.”
Dolphin was suspended from Iowa basketball broadcasts for two games after he directly criticized sophomore guard Maishe Dailey during Iowa’s win over Pitt. Dolphin thought the broadcast was in a break and that the only person that could hear his comment was his broadcast partner. A technical problem at the Learfield studios left Dolphin’s mic live and the comment went out over the air.
The radio commercial has raised some flags at Learfield Sports, the company that carries Iowa broadcasts. It is asking affiliates not to play the commercial. “A Learfield representative told a media buyer that it appreciates the ‘immense passion’ for Dolphin but that it’s unable to consider the spot for broadcast,” wrote Ryan J. Foley of the Associated Press.
The ads may be solely about Dolphin’s suspension. More likely though, they are about Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta’s comment that the suspension isn’t just about Dolphin criticizing a Hawkeyes player, but also “ongoing tensions that have built up over the past couple of years.”
Dolphin took to Twitter himself on Friday. He reiterated his apology. He did not mention the ad campaign.
— Gary Dolphin (@GaryDolphin) November 30, 2018
He already missed the Hawkeye’s loss at home to Wisconsin on Friday. He will also miss the team’s trip to ninth-ranked Michigan State tonight. Iowa hosts Iowa State on Thursday night. That will mark Dolphin’s return to the broadcast booth.