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University of Iowa naming football field after Hall of Famer Duke Slater

The Board of Regents wants to name Kinnick Stadium's surface after Duke Slater, the NFL's first Black lineman.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa approved a plan Wednesday to name the field at Kinnick Stadium after Duke Slater.

Slater was the first Black student-athlete in the school's history to become an All-America and the first Black lineman in the NFL. He is also set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

An All-American at Iowa, Slater created running room in the NFL for such stars as Ernie Nevers and Jim Thorpe, and he was named an All-Pro three times. 

The only game he missed in his 10 NFL seasons, against the Kansas City Blues, was due to a league agreement preventing Black athletes from playing in Missouri.

After Slater retired, the league imposed a ban on Black players that lasted until 1946. He died in 1966 at age 67.

The school will recognize Slater and former Hawkeye Alex Karras, also a member of the 2020 Centennial Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, during Iowa’s game against Pennsylvania State University on Oct. 9.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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