How Iowa football’s ‘unconventionally appealing’ season is helping Iowa City food bank

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Iowa wide receiver Jack Johnson, 27, is about to pull in an incomplete pass during Iowa’s game against Nevada at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Iowa City — When Julia Winter first got a call from a man in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she thought, “Oh, this is probably a sales call.”

Mr. Winter, director of development for Iowa City’s Community Crisis Services, was wrong.

She was instead trying to learn from one of the group’s leaders, Jordan Edmondson, about a group of college football fans called the Sicos Committee.

“I didn’t know there was a group like this, but I really appreciate it,” Winter said.

Launched in 2020 and growing a national following on social media, the Cikos Commission has raised thousands of dollars for Iowa City nonprofits.

Charity is the result of Iowa football’s ugly offensive performance in 2022. Ugly dog is not the right word.

Sicos prefers the term “unconventional charm”.

“It’s not necessarily ugly football, because I think it’s fun just for people to suffer punt after punt,” said George Smith, commissioner of the Sicos Commission.

Either way, Hawkeye had enough “unconventional appeal” that Sicos national supporters voted them as Sicos national champions.

“Iowa’s defensive team and special teams are like national championships,” Smith said, referring to the actual national championship, not the Sicos national championship. “That attack is the exact opposite of that.”

Already ninth in the Sicos preseason polls, Iowa quickly emerged as a contender to win the unconventional honor with a 7-3 victory over South Dakota.

“I would say they pretty much sealed the title from the first game,” Smith said. “Iowa he invented something called a touchdown, which is basically him two safety and a field goal.”

Smith said Sicos doesn’t want to “beat” anyone, but admires what he thinks is “the magic of college football.”

That magic shows up in more ways than a team that punts 10 times in a single game. For example, Ball State University running in his back has a pet alligator named Crocky-J.

“We try to shine a light on them and do it with humor,” Smith said.

After surpassing Cikos’ goal of raising $2,000 — which winter estimated $2,000 was enough to feed 200 families — they raised the target to $3,065.

The fundraiser will end at the end of the Quick Lane Bowl, which starts at 1:30 PM on Monday. As of Friday afternoon, Sicos has raised his $2,923.

Accessible at, our online fundraising platform allows donors to make donations in honor of or in memory of someone.

It didn’t take long for a resourceful fan to make a donation in honor of Brian Ferencz, the Iowa offensive coordinator overseeing a unit that ranked 130th out of 131 teams in yards per game. He is the son of head coach Kirk Ferenc.

Others contributed nepotism, “a 7-3 win over South Dakota with two safety and field goals,” Tory Taylor’s punt leg, “Transfer Portal Kirk.”

One Iowa City resident who donated $25 said in the comments section after watching the 7-5 season, “I felt the need to cleanse my soul with the donation.”

Another donor asked CommUnity in the comments section, “Please stop Brian Ferentz from picking up boxes of goods.”

In addition to monetary donations, Sicos fundraising has raised awareness of food insecurity. Winter said it was worse amid inflation and declining benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“People are not as supported as they have been in the last two years,” says Winter. “Now it’s really back in the hands of our community.”

Visits to CommUnity’s food bank on Highway 6 along Broadway Street increased 26% in the first quarter (July, August and September) of fiscal year 2022-23 compared to three months in 2021 Increased.

While undoubtedly grateful for Cikos’ generosity, Winter (“Hawkeye All the Way”) is delighted to see another fan base win Cikos’ national title next year.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to be back in Lincoln,” Winter said with a laugh.

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