The opponents’ marching band will no longer perform at halftime of LSU football games, under a policy the athletic department instituted last season, team spokesman Michael Bonnette clarified Saturday.
“It’s a safety issue,” Bonnette told The Advocate on Friday. “We don’t have room down there for both bands. In order for bands to perform at half, they’ve got to come down to the field before the first half ends. That’s a lot of people on the sideline.”
Bonnette clarified on Saturday morning that the policy was implemented last season, and not this upcoming season, as first reported. Risk management officials at LSU recommended the policy be enacted, Bonnette said.
He declined comment when asked whether there have been any sideline incidents between opposing band members or between band members and LSU fans. None has been reported, but the policy would prevent such skirmishes.
The policy will affect traveling bands, and at least one official isn’t happy about it.
Jacksonville State band director Ken Bodiford told Montgomery television station WSFA that he will no longer bring JSU’s band to the school’s Sept. 10 meeting with the Tigers, LSU’s home opener. Bodiford said he can’t justify the $120,000 expense of bus rental, hotel accommodations and meals for the trip if the band is not allowed to perform at halftime.
The decision likely means Southeastern Conference schools, like Alabama, will no longer travel their full band to LSU games. The co-director for Alabama’s Million Dollar Band, in a post on Facebook, said the school would only send a small pep band as a result of the new policy.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.