NAU band leaves spectators marching out of Rolle
This is part of a Point/ Counterpoint Column about the NAU band performing at NAU athletic events. Click here to see the other side of the argument.
It is no secret NAU basketball produced lower-than-expected results this season, with the men hitting a 16-game losing streak (the worst since 1990) and the women only winning three home games after winter break. While these dismal records are the result of several problems in the system, a new issue has reared its ugly head this year: the band.
The musical equivalent to the NCAA, the Collegiate Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) is the governing body of collegiate bands. On their website, current president Eric Rombach-Kendall states, “CBDNA supports the mission of collegiate bands to enrich the lives of students and the campus community through service, to challenge students to aspire as musicians, to carry the traditions of the university and to develop a sense of community and pride within the institution.”
In what has become the most noticeable part of basketball games, the band has taken center stage over the athletes. The band often makes the audience cringe and look in bewilderment to their collective right. In the midst of two of the worst seasons in school history, something as trivial as the band would fall by the wayside, but in fact it has taken center stage in several NCAA schools around the country.
During the second-round NCAA tournament game between Kansas State University (KSU) and Southern Mississippi University, members of the band were chanting, “Where’s your green card?” at KSU point guard Angel Rodriguez, who hails from Puerto Rico and is a U.S. citizen. In the wake of the incident, five members of that band were removed from the ensemble and had their scholarships revoked. This occurred on the large stage of the NCAA tournament, making it even more inexcusable.
The NCAA and CBDNA promote sportsmanship, and our band undermines that. They have become a stain on the otherwise positive attitude of our athletic department and athletes alike.
Perhaps the most baffling aspect of the situation concerning our band and their behavior is that music department professor Daniel Schmidt is the President-Elect for the western division of the CBDNA. This should provide the incentive to produce a more respectful, sportsmanship-oriented band, but the opposite is the case. Our band spends the duration of the games screaming at shrill levels during free throws, yelling at players and taunting them while they are down on the court injured. Onlookers have been known to yell, ‘Shut up,’ plug their ears and become infuriated at the band. The band has become a deterrent for the few fans who show their support for NAU athletics and nothing less than an obnoxious distraction for the players. For a group of students specializing in music, their attention has transferred from harmonic proficiency to radical fan base.
The band’s level of play is subpar, their direction is lackadaisical and their rude, irritating banter goes without being controlled and checked. Thier place in the student section deters other students fans, and the band should be made to set up shop and perform on the side of the stands. Since their inclusion in the student section in the newly renovated Rolle Activity Center, the men did not win a single game at home. The women only won two games since the band has been sitting in the student section. The band has not been the primary reason we have had struggles this season at home, but they have severely affected the atmosphere of games, which can affect the comfort level of the athletes in competition.
The taunting of injured players, spewing of racially motivated chants and perpetuating all other distasteful and disrespectful acts by spectators, much less a band, cannot be tolerated.