Alright, time for me to take off my MAC hat, and put on my OU Alum hat for 5 minutes…
The Ohio University Band is always one of the bright spots of the week in Cleveland. They always sound superb and are very entertaining. They (along with the OU dance team who are also great at what they do) are often the talk of press row and the staff here at the Q who is here for about 10 hours of 4 games, and 8 sets of cheerleaders, dance teams and bands.
Ohio University’s band won’t be here today, or for any of the tournament. Apparently this decision was made due to a midseason budget cut and OU President Roderick McDavis’s refusal to cover the expenses of the band. I realize that the economy is in bad shape and that businesses, universities, and organizations across the country are tightening the belt wherever possible. Still, this really isn’t acceptable for a couple of reasons.
The OU band does a fantastic job representing the university. As I already mentioned, they get a lot of good buzz from the everyone at the Q for these games. The old saying is, “You can’t put a price on good publicity.” Really that’s not true. I work in marketing and I can tell you that you can put a price on good pub, because it’s my (real) job to measure that type of stuff. If OU’s band being here sways 1 or 2 young instrument players who might be in the crowd today to attend Ohio University does that outweigh the cost of getting the band up here for the university? I say it does.
It’s really unfair to the students in the band who work their butts off supporting the team, representing the university, and entertaining crowds to have this trip pulled on them with 24 hours notice. Not only do they deserve to travel to Cleveland to root for the team that they’ve been supporting all season, but if this decision was made at the beginning of the year, maybe students could have raised the money to make the trip, much like the OU Dance Team did.
It takes away from the game atmosphere to not have the band here. On Tuesday no bands made the trip to Cleveland and according to my counterparts the atmosphere in the Q really lacked. During the first game when the Ball State band was rocking out (they were very good) it was noticable, and enjoyable. A smattering of early quotes that I’ve heard from others on press row who are OU alums and those in the MAC office include, “It’s pathetic,” “Unacceptable,” and “Furious.”
Really, it is pathetic that President McDavis wouldn’t cough up the funds to get the band to Cleveland, and if I run into him at any Bobcat pregame festivities in Cleveland you can be sure that I’ll tell him exactly that. He can add this notch to his belt when he’s counting the reasons why he has been a less than successful President during his almost 5 year tenure at OU.
Dan Whitmyer is the head basketball writer at VanDelay Sports (and a proud Ohio University grad). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org