TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band members were recently told each student can only perform in one home game per season, from the stands. Seniors will be allowed to perform in two home games.
20,000 people will be allowed in Bryant Denny Stadium for home games. 96 of those seats will be reserved for the band. In a petition asking the school to reconsider its decision, over 8,000 people have signed it in hopes of having the full band back at the games.
George Hicks created the petition. He has two daughters at UA, both are in the Million Dollar Band.
“We really think the band should be there in its entirety and be able to participate because of all of their hard work and sacrifice,” Hicks said.
His daughter Emily said its the band that brings the excitement to the games.
“The band is one of the most important parts of the energy of the game,” Emily Hicks said. “When we’re not there, it falls flat.”
For some students, while disappointed, they understand the university’s decision to reduce the band’s seating section.
“I more or less understand the decision athletics made because they’re trying to make money off of a season where they’re going to lose money regardless,” Ryan Lovell, a junior in the Million Dollar Band, said.
University seniors are allowed to perform in two games this season. Caleb Missildine said this is not how he planned his last year in the band would go.
“[We were] under the impression from the time we got on campus that at least half the band was going to be able to be there,” said Missildine. “To hear that not even a quarter of the band was going to be able to be in the stands was a big shock… We just want to play. The evidence is there that it’s safe for the football players to play. I think with the proper precautions, you can let the band play as well.”
The University of Alabama released the following state on the reduced stadium capacity:
With mandatory reduced overall capacity at Bryant-Denny Stadium this season due to state law, every group of seat holders was affected, including the Million Dollar Band.University of Alabama Athletics Department
Tickets for all non-football coaches and athletic department staff were eliminated. The allotment for football staff was reduced dramatically. Letterwinners, faculty/staff, students and other categories are at 20 percent of capacity. In terms of the student allotment, 40 percent of the available seats (comprising 20 percent of the total reduced number) go to seniors, 20 percent to juniors, 15 percent to sophomores and freshmen and 10 percent to graduate/professional students.
The combined numbers for the band and other spirit groups are consistent with the above and in line with the majority of schools across the SEC. We are making sure each senior has the ability to participate in two games.
Despite the daunting challenges we face along with our counterparts throughout the conference and the country, we feel strongly that our staff has developed a plan that works best for all constituencies. We will continue to evaluate all measures and hope to increase capacity later in the season based on mandatory regulations and COVID-19 testing availability.
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