In an effort to clear up "some misinformation" about the status of band tickets for Texas Longhorns visitors this season, the athletic department released a statement on Friday:
For non-conference play, we have provided 300 complimentary tickets to both Rice University and the University of California at Berkeley for their marching bands. These tickets are specified in their contracts and have been provided to both institutions by The University of Texas. We are disappointed that the MOB from Rice University has chosen not to attend, as we were excited to host one of the great traditions of college football. We are excited to host the band from the University of California at Berkeley at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium and will enjoy the pageantry that they will add to our gameday environment.
For Big 12 Conference games, six of the 10 schools in the Big 12 have historically charged visiting schools for both band and fan seats. The four Texas schools had a gentleman's agreement to simply charge the fans for the tickets and provide complimentary tickets to the marching bands. The change to smaller venues across the conference, such as TCU and Baylor, caused a shift in that agreement.
Last year, when Texas traveled to Lubbock to play Texas Tech, we were charged for and paid full price for all tickets, including the tickets provided to the Longhorn Band. The current policy, clarified and approved by Big 12 business managers this past summer, states all visiting schools pay for all seats they use at full price. Texas did not initiate the discussions on this policy. We are merely following the practice approved by the Big 12 member institutions.
The Athletics Department at Texas will be paying for the seats for the full Longhorn Band when we travel to Baylor and TCU this year, and at the AT&T Red River Showdown against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. We will pay full price, again, for our tickets when we return to Lubbock to play Texas Tech in 2016.
For the background on this story, there was an uproar on Wednesday when a Texas Tech Red Raiders beat writer tweeted that the Texas Longhorns would charge the Goin' Band from Raiderland $100 apiece for tickets to the Thanksgiving Day contest between the two schools and said it was the first time that either school had done so.
The immediate narrative that emerged was that Texas athletics director Steve Patterson was greedily capitalizing on another opportunity to make some extra money, as the report indicated that neither school had ever charged the other for band tickets before.
There was subsequently some confusion about when the agreement between the Big 12 schools actually ended, with Patterson tweeting that Texas Tech charged Texas for band tickets last year. Horns Digest's Chip Brown essentially agreed with Patterson, reporting that the move from Texas and other Big 12 schools came after Texas Tech charged the Texas band last year, thereby ending the previous agreement reported by Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News.
There was also a report that the Rice MOB would not attend the game this weekend as a result of Patterson charging them for tickets.