Michigan Decides Against Bringing Band To Game In Texas To Save $400K

April 20, 2012 /
Detroit News, Angelique S. Chengelis


Michigan will play defending national champion Alabama in the season opener Sept. 1 at Cowboys Stadium in Texas, but the Michigan marching band will not be there.

Athletic director Dave Brandon said it would cost approximately $400,000 to transport the band — twice what U-M will pay for the football team to travel to Arlington, Texas — and that’s simply not in the budget. Michigan will make $4.7 million for playing in the neutral-site game, but that money, Brandon said, must go into the athletic department fund to pay for the 29 varsity sports.

Brandon said his staff researched the costs of transporting the band, which would involve chartering jets, hotel and food costs.

“I’m glad people are excited about the game, and they want the band to be there,” Brandon told The News on Thursday evening. “I would love the band to be there — I would love the band to be at every game — but the cost of doing that is prohibitive. We don’t take the band to (regular season) games farther away than a bus ride.”

Brandon said he was well aware of the mounting outrage among Michigan fans, who lashed out on Twitter and Internet message boards after hearing the news that was first reported by the Michigan Daily student newspaper.

While the band has not traveled to the football team’s west-coast regular-season games in previous seasons, fans argued this meeting with Alabama at a neutral site is not just any game. Brandon acknowledged that while the game is generating a bowl-game feel, there are financial constraints.

“Bowl game committees will pay the expenses for taking the band, and that’s why we always take the band. That’s part of the reward of going to a bowl game,” Brandon said. “This is not a bowl game. I don’t know of any other team during the regular season chartering private jets for their bands. I would love to have the band there, but the cost is beyond what we can afford.

“I’m no happier not having our band down there than anyone else, but it’s a practical reality.”

Ohio State’s marching band was in a similar position in 2006 when the Buckeyes traveled to Austin, Texas, to play the University of Texas on Sept. 9. Walt and Jane Dennis donated $225,000 to the OSU band, and the members raised an additional $25,000 to fund the trip to Texas.

Brandon certainly is open to that possibility for the Michigan band.

“It would be great — tell them to call me,” Brandon said.

Leave a Reply