April 26, 2012 - 4:00pm
BY STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Five days after the Daily first reported that the Michigan Marching Band was told by the Athletic Department that due to budgetary constraints the band would not travel to the season-opening Cowboy Classic in Dallas, the decision has been reversed.
At long last, the band is going to Dallas.
As first reported by AnnArbor.com on Tuesday afternoon, Michigan Marching Band Director Scott Boerma confirmed that Athletic Director Dave Brandon informed him that the band will be attending the season opener against defending-champion Alabama on Sept. 1.
“We just received an email from AD David Brandon saying that Athletics has now decided that, with the help of some donors, they will be taking us to Dallas for the Cowboy Classic game vs. Alabama,” Boerma wrote to the band in an e-mail obtained by the Daily.
“There are many details yet to be worked out. For example, we do not yet know exactly how many students and staff will go, and we don't know for sure when we'll be leaving or returning. Please be patient as we sort these issues out.”
The details of the trip have not yet been made official, only that the trip will be made.
In an effort to clarify, Boerma contacted the Daily on Tuesday afternoon with additional information.
“Just to clarify the news flying around, we will field a full contingent of MMB members at the Alabama game on Sept. 1,” Boerma wrote. “Per his request, I gave David Brandon an optimal number of students needed to make this an effective performance, and he agreed to that number with no request for a compromise. We will be flown down on a charter jet.”
In a second e-mail to the band, Boerma advised the band to help subdue inaccurate speculation.
“Please get on Facebook and Twitter and eliminate the need for people to wrongly speculate that we are taking a less-than-full-sized MMB to Dallas. We are not,” Boerma wrote. “The Athletic Department is making this great trip a reality for us, and we are extremely appreciative of it.”
The Athletic Department's initial decision last Thursday to leave the band home was met with instant criticism from fans, alumni, students and even Alabama fans.
Brandon spoke at length about the decision on Monday, pointing out that it would cost upwards of $400,000 to charter the band to Texas.
“People don’t need to understand how this business works, but how this works is football — and to a much, much, much lesser degree men’s basketball — pays the cost of 27 other sports,” Brandon said. “Make no mistake about it: the revenues we receive from football, without them we don’t have an athletic department.”
Both Boerma and Brandon told the Daily on Monday that they were “optimistic” that the two sides would find a way to send the band to Dallas. Less than 24 hours later, it's all but official.