Ed Podolak, the popular color commentator on Iowa radio broadcasts since 1982, has stepped down from the post. The story was first reported Tuesday night by WHO-TV in Des Moines and Iowa officials released a statement Wednesday confirming Podolak's retirement. The move came after three unflattering photos surfaced of the former Hawkeye and Kansas City Chief player partying during Iowa's Outback Bowl trip to Tampa.
According to Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Podolak, 61, decided to call it quits after Iowa officials urged him "to seek alcohol treatment and then be welcomed back to the Iowa football radio booth this fall for a 28th consecutive year as an analyst." Technically, Iowa doesn't have the contractual right to remove Podolak, an independent contractor for Learfield, which owns the broadcast rights. However, Iowa does retain the right to approve who is in the booth for Learfield.
"I am embarrassed by the pictures," Podolak told the Des Moines Register over the weekend. "It was late in the evening at the hotel. But I am responsible to represent the university and I am embarrassed by my actions."
In 1997, Iowa City police charged Podolak with public intoxication and interference with official acts after campus police found him sleeping in the grass on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times the level at which a person is considered intoxicated.
Iowa officials said at the time of the 1997 incident that another arrest on similar charges could prompt them to dismiss Podolak from the radio broadcast.
The news of Podolak's departure will not go over well with Hawkeye fans. His popularity actually skyrocketed since the 1997 arrest, which for many fun-loving Iowa fans was considered a badge of honor.