The University of Southern California (USC) Marching Band will refrain from a portion of its traditional pregame show–where the drum major stabs the field–at the request of its cross-town rival the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
“It is important to protect a great rivalry and to conduct it in the most mutually respectful way possible,” said Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, USC’s band director, in a press release.
The USC drum major’s practice of stabbing the 50-yard line (at both home and away stadiums) to begin the pregame show dates back to the 1970’s. The UCLA Athletic Department’s Game Management team made its request to the USC Band after an online fan campaign. USC would be banned from performing at halftime if they stab the field.
What do you think of this controversy? Do you think the practice of opposing schools trying to control each other’s marching band shows will spread to other universities? Or is this situation unique to the fervid UCLA-USC rivalry?
Photo: USC Drum Major Keith Yoerg stabs the field at a 2012 home game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Photo by Ben Chua.