Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, January 27, 2016
Donald Trump held a rally Tuesday night at the University of Iowa, and several Iowa football players and wrestlers joined the Republican front-runner on stage.
The football team, a month removed from completing one of the best seasons in program history, joined Trump on stage first. Trump raved about the players' size, joked about the team's disappointing Rose Bowl defeat, and said this about popular quarterback C.J. Beathard: ?We?ve got the next Tom Brady right over here. The quarterback, he?s gonna be the next Tom Brady."
As the players exited the stage, the crowd chanted "Let's go Hawks! Let's go Hawks!"
The undefeated wrestling team was up next, and, once again, Trump was in the joking mood, at one point asking if he had any chance of beating an injured wrestler. Trump shook their hands and told them, "Keep going, bring home the championship, right? Bring it home, fellas." as they walked off the stage.
Iowa AD Gary Barta released this statement about the student-athletes attending the event:
"I was made aware that a number of current and former UI students from various sports attended the rally last night.
University of Iowa student-athletes are encouraged to participate in the political process as individuals. However, like any endorsement by a student or faculty member, their participation should not be considered representative of the entire team or university. In recent months, candidates from both parties representing a spectrum of ideals have visited Iowa City. We will continue to support this approach without influencing particular political choice or agendas.
The jersey presented to Mr. Trump was not an official Iowa football jersey. No candidate has asked for, or received, any official Iowa athletic equipment or apparel.
We are confident that no violations of NCAA rules and regulations have taken place."
Prior to the rally, the football players were on stage urging the crowd to vote for Trump. Tight end Peter Pekar even held up a No. 1 Iowa jersey, an unofficial jersey, according to the school, with Trump?s surname on the nameplate. See it below.
And here's the star quarterback with the presidential candidate.