Our Views: Keep visitor bands in LSU’s halftime pageants _lowres

Advocate file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern University drum major Keith Morgan leads the Human Jukebox at halftime a year ago at Cajun Field in Lafayette.

Part of the burden of being a high-profile athletic power is that LSU’s decisions can be controversial and have national repercussions.

Case in point is the year-old policy prohibiting opposing marching bands from performing during halftimes at Tiger Stadium.

The decision caused some consternation among band directors and enthusiasts for halftime spectacles, although in last year’s season it was not 100 percent enforced. Officials at Texas A&M University said they had not been notified properly, so allowing their band to visit was worked out.

For what it is worth, we are glad LSU officials will be able to work out a way for bands to visit.

Eddie Nunez, LSU’s deputy director of athletics, had pledged that the university would meet with risk-management officials and reassess the policy.

As Nunez said, the pageantry of Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium is a wonderful part of life in Baton Rouge and Louisiana.

We, too, would “love to continue the pageantry,” as Nunez put it.

We, too, know LSU is a big business, and insurance coverage is one of the issues of operations. The earlier decision’s rationale was not unreasonable because it’s a small space, and more than 200 band members, tubas and drums and all are crammed in there before the end of the second quarter.

At the same time, LSU’s 300-plus-member band, the football team, television cameras and equipment and other media members are on a sideline that has shrunk over the years, Nunez said. LSU’s small sideline space, specifically on the west side behind the home bench, was at the forefront of the issue.

“There are legitimate safety concerns that can affect our student-athletes, so we have developed a plan to ensure a more secure environment for everyone,” Athletic Director Joe Alleva said.

These are real issues, but we suspect that LSU, given its high profile in collegiate band circles, is right to try to work things out to “continue the pageantry.”

“Everybody in the college marching band world knows about this, and we’re watching very closely,” Illinois band director Steve Peterson said Tuesday.

Peterson is the director of bands at Illinois and former president of the College Band Directors National Association.

We know a lot of fans enjoy the halftime show and want our visitors to be a part of it. While it is a work in progress, we hope the welcome always given to LSU’s visitors at halftime will continue to be a treat for them and for the fans for many years to come.