A Century After Race Ended a Bitter Rivalry, Missouri and Iowa Once Again Meet on the Football Field

Late last month the University of Missouri and the University of Iowa squared off in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. Despite the fact that they are flagship universities in adjoining states, the two schools had not met on the gridiron for 100 years.

Race was the reason the universities stopped playing against one another in 1910. The bitter rivalry, which started in the 1890s, was always controversial because Iowa fielded black players and Missouri refused to do so. At one game in 1896, Missouri fans were said to yell “Kill the Negro” at Iowa tailback Frank Holbrook. In 1910, Missouri declared it would not play Iowa if it brought black players to Columbia for a game. Iowa reluctantly agreed not to bring its black athletes, lost the game, and vowed never to return.

From that point on, the University of Missouri did not play a team with a black player until 1939 and did not have a black player on its team until 1957.

This year an unranked Iowa team got some revenge for the racial insult of a century ago, winning the Insight Bowl 27-24 over 14th-ranked Missouri.