Longtime Iowa broadcaster Gary Dolphin will return from his suspension for Iowa's spring football practices, and will be on the mic for both football and men's basketball games next season, Hawkeye Sports Properties announced Wednesday.
Dolphin was suspended from men's basketball broadcasts twice this season, most recently after referring to Maryland star Bruno Fernando as "King Kong" following a Feb. 19 game. He has been replaced by Jim Albracht for the remainder of this basketball season.
Dolphin and Iowa athletic director Gary Barta will meet with reporters at 3 p.m. Wednesday to address the situation for the first time publicly.
Dolphin accepted his punishment, saying in a university news release: “During the broadcast, I used a comparison when trying to describe a talented Maryland basketball player. In no way did I intend to offend or disparage the player. I take full responsibility for my inappropriate word choice and offer a sincere apology to him and anyone else who was offended. I wish the Iowa Hawkeye players, coaches and fans all the very best as they head into the final stretch of the season. I will use this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn more about unconscious bias."
But the decision did not sit well with a large portion of the Hawkeye fan base. Nor did Barta's refusal to speak about the reasoning for it. That unease has remained for five days.
Learfield’s Hawkeye Sports Properties made the suspension and reinstatement decisions after discussions with the Iowa athletics department, a Wednesday news release said.
Dolphin has served as the “Voice of the Hawkeyes” since 1996.
Dolphin was previously suspended after making disparaging comments about Iowa guard Maishe Dailey during what he assumed was a commercial break in a November game. On that occasion, Dolphin complained about the Hawkeyes failing to recruit high-caliber guards, concluding with: “We get Maishe Dailey. … Dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God.”
He apologized for that comment as well and said he accepted the two-game banishment.
"When one of our own attacks one of our players the way he did, it's inexcusable," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after that episode.
McCaffery has not spoken about the latest suspension. The No. 21 Hawkeyes are 21-7 after a loss at Ohio State on Tuesday, with three regular-season games remaining.