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Stanford Band at Fiesta Bowl 2012

This year’s Fiesta Bowl was a great game, and being an Oklahoma State fan I was very glad to see the Cowboys prevail in the seesaw battle. The only blemish on the game, other than my stress level all the way to the end, was the behavior of the Stanford band. They looked like they were having a lot of fun, but some of their behavior went beyond fun and I felt compelled to write a letter to the Stanford athletic director.

I’ve pasted a copy of it below and if anyone one else feels the same way you should write him and publicize this in any way you can. I know this isn’t a national issue or a big deal to most people. To me though it goes beyond any disrespect shown to the Oklahoma State football team, the state and the family of those killed in the tragic plane crash recently. The band’s actions showed a disregard for common decency to other people that in my mind is too prevalent in our society right now. If they are not held accountable in some way then it will just continue like business as usual.

You can contact Mr. Bowlsby via email at bowlsby@stanford.edu or by fax at 650-725-8642.



Bob Bowlsby, Athletic Director
Department of Athletics
Stanford University
Arrillaga Family Sports Center
641 East Campus Drive
Stanford, CA 94305-6105

January 9, 2012

Dear Mr. Bowlsby,

I am writing to you because I want to convey my thoughts about the behavior of your band at the Fiesta Bowl this year. I am a fan of Oklahoma State, and while I am glad OSU won, I thought that Stanford played a hell of a game that could have gone either way. It was a great back and forth battle and both teams should be congratulated for giving it their all.

Before watching the game, I did not have any idea about the reputation of the Stanford band. All I knew about Stanford was that they had a very good football team and that my cousin’s son got his PhD recently there and thought it was a great school. Plus, it’s in a great part of California and having just taken a bicycling tour with my wife in the area north of San Francisco, you are all lucky to live in that part of the country.

Having said all that, I found some of the behavior of your band to be beyond the line of simple decency and respect. Trash talk about the football team, Oklahoma, Okies, Oklahoma State University, etc. is to be expected and I guess is just part of the experience. We could all probably do without it on both sides, but it is not something that I let bother me.

However, when your band stayed in place after the game and continued to play during the Oklahoma State alma mater and during the time when the presentation of the Fiesta Bowl award was to take place that was very inappropriate. I am surprised that no authority from Stanford stopped them from playing after the game was over. I hear that a Fiesta Bowl official(s) finally had to get them to stop playing so the presentation could go forward.

I was not at the game myself, but in talking to people that were, some say that members of the band mimed a plane crashing during the halftime show in reference to the tragic plane crash that recently took the life of the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach among others. If that is true then someone needs to be held accountable for that behavior which any decent person would find offensive, disrespectful, and way out of line.

I would like to know your thoughts on the band’s behavior after game when they played through the Oklahoma State alma mater and their disruption by playing during the presentation by Fiesta Bowl officials of the trophy to Oklahoma State. I would also appreciate it if you could tell me if any member of the band or administration has been held accountable and disciplined for those actions.

Second, I would like to know if in fact you are aware that any members of the band mimed a plane crash during the halftime show or at any time at the Fiesta Bowl. If so, then I would like to know if any member of the band or administration has been held accountable and disciplined for those actions.

Your band seems to have a lot of fun and that is good to see. However, they crossed a line at the Fiesta Bowl and if they are not held accountable for their actions then I have to ask you what kind of message you think that sends to them and everyone else at your university and across the country.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Mark Lash

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Ellen January 10, 2012, 11:44 pm

    Hi Mark – I copied your letter to Remy. Here are his comments (he’s working and living in SF now so isn’t on campus anymore)

    wow–no i didnt hear anything about that at all. that’s pretty terrible but not that surprising. i dont think the thing about the plane is true though-i looked online really quick and didnt find much. they’re dumb but I dont think they’d be that stupid.


  • Mark January 11, 2012, 12:08 am

    Hi Ellen – Thanks for passing it along to Remy and letting me know what he thought. I didn’t find much online either about miming the plane crash, but I did talk to people who were at the game who said they did see it. I’ll be curious to see if the athletic director writes back and says whether they did it or not. I bet ESPN has film if they did.


  • Russell March 15, 2012, 2:27 pm

    There is video of their pregame and halftime performances on YouTube. They aren’t hard to find.

  • RG March 28, 2012, 11:59 pm

    Appreciated your post. I am a 2nd generation Stanford Alum and very proud of it. Was at the Fiesta Bowl and was very proud of the way the team played and believe OSU fans should feel the same way (obviously).

    Was brought to your blog via the Stanford Daily which posted an article referring to sanctions placed on the Band due in part to some of the Fiesta Bowl antics. At its best, the Stanford Band is creative and entertaining in some of the good-natured jibes it makes at opponents during it’s show. At its worst, 80,000 people have to endure the rather lame inside jokes of 90 kids. It did all seem alot funnier 20+ years ago as a student…

    It was hard to hear the announcer’s commentary during the pre-game show but something obviously happened that upset OSU fans. I regret that these kinds of things take place at sporting events–there’s lots of room for good-natured fun and school pride without either side having to cross lines that draw offense. Sorry about that.

    I didn’t recall any kind of plane-crash mimicry. It might help you to know that for decades, the Band has had a trademark chaotic entry onto the field where members run, crawl and tumble their way to their spots. This often involves members running around with arms outstretched. They turn circles, run into each other and fall down. I guess that could look like mimicking a plane crash, but I doubt that was intended. I’ve been watching them do that for years and didn’t think anything of it. If I recall, there was a moment of silence before the game in honor of those lost and that was clearly observed throughout the Stanford seats where I was sitting.

    Don’t think it’s too late to congratulate you and OSU. Great game–one of the best I’ve ever seen played on both sides.

    • Mark April 2, 2012, 3:02 pm

      RG… Thank you for your nice comment. I’ve been out of town so haven’t been able to reply until now.

      I especially appreciate your commment about the plane-crash minicry. I’m convinced now that it was just a coincidence that they came out on the field that way and that they didn’t intend to mock the plane crash. It also appears that Stanford has taken some action against the band for their behavior which is also good.

      It was a great football game which could have gone either way depending on when time ran out. Both teams did great and thanks for your congratulations. The Stanfor team should also be proud about how they played.

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