On Saturday, a minor social media controversy broke out when a picture of the TCU Horned Frogs band in the upper deck on the northeast side of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium made its way around Twitter before the Texas Longhorns victory:
Texas making sure TCU’s band is as far away from the field as possible pic.twitter.com/jY89pjKbHp— Taylor Estes (@Taylor_Estes_) September 22, 2018
Some opposing fanbases took the opportunity criticize Texas as petty and unsportsmanlike, including a respected national commentator:
If real, it’s a joke. Petty, punishes college kids, and takes away from part of pageantry or college football. Is Texas afraid of the decisive advantage provided by TCU’s... band? (I know many other schools also do this.) https://t.co/bNrWyd1anT— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) September 22, 2018
Note the important caveat that many other schools do the same thing.
After the game, Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte was asked about it and provided the following response:
We moved the visitors section from the lower bowl to give our students a contiguous student section thus creating a fantastic atmosphere for in DKR.. if a visiting team elects to bring their band must sit in the seats allotted for visitors. https://t.co/cS7c1tbS3t— Chris Del Conte (@_delconte) September 23, 2018
Indeed, the decision was made specifically to benefit students and the overall atmosphere in the stadium. The students were originally split between the section in the northeast corner of the stadium and underneath the video board along with the band. The arrangement simply didn’t make sense, especially separating the band from the largest part of the student section.
So Del Conte moved the student section into the former visitor’s section on the southeast side of the stadium, along with the band. As a result, the visitor section was moved into the upper deck, which resulted in the visiting band moving with it.
Here’s the question, then — should the Longhorns make decisions to benefit students who pay for season tickets and for tuition or to benefit opponents who are free to put visiting fans and bands wherever they want in their own stadiums?
The answer seems like an easy one.