Column: The decision to move the band is not in the interest of students

The UConn Pep Band celebrates during the Huskies 94-65 victory over Southern Connecticut State University on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 in Gampel Pavilion. This was the first game that the band was moved in front of the student section. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

NOTE: This article is entirely my opinion, and does not reflect the opinion of The Daily Campus or anybody else. This article is also not seeking to smack talk the band or students; I have revised a very aggressive paragraph to convey my opinion more clearly. I apologize for anybody I may have provoked. 

As you may or may not know, the UConn pep band has recently nestled itself into a new part of the student section: right in front of every single student.

Seriously. This is not a joke. In fact, it was such a big deal that the UConn Band twitter account tweeted out that they were making this change.

The fact that they start their tweet with a caution sign emoji should be a big enough red flag.

With the band so close to students, they might be worrying about covering their ears more than watching the game. That's not the band's fault, and it's not the student's fault; it's just the reality of the situation. I'm sure the reason they were always separate in the first place was because Gampel has a big echo, and having the band right next to anybody but themselves would be extremely loud.

But this situation was created by a choice made by some higher-up university power, meaning that nobody is at fault but them. The band is just doing what they've been doing as long as they've existed, and now student fans are being put in an odd situation that they can't do a thing about.

Now, I understand the logic of this move. That doesn’t mean I think it’s right, and it doesn’t mean that I think it was smart. But I get what they must have been thinking: “Gee, the student section has really been kind of lame over the last few years. I bet if we put the pep band right next to them, they might become infused with pep and won’t be able to resist the urge to go crazy!”

Except they got it, in the words of Donald Trump, wrong.

The student section isn’t less exciting because the students are caring less. No, they have been less exciting lately because the matchups aren’t there. The quality of the actual team wasn’t there. It’s no secret to anyone watching a team that lost to Temple twice would prompt anybody to show up in large numbers.

The reality is, the team will probably be much better this year, and even though the home schedule is still terrible, people will come and support the team because they will be young and fun to watch. Jalen Adams, Alterique Gilbert, Terry Larrier and Rodney Purvis are going to have such good chemistry, and they are going to feed off each other so well. Steve Enoch has a whole season to grow, and he is by far the biggest X-factor for the Huskies. Kevin Ollie will be able to cycle in Vance Jackson, Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey in as well.

Bottom line? This team is better than last year’s team. And THAT is going to put butts in the seats, not because the band is sitting side-by-side with everyone. Like, honestly, who is going to make their way to a game only to be obstructed by some dude rocking his tuba? The band is always playing, and the band is always standing. Nobody behind them will be able to see, even if they’re standing up. Believe it or not, that will actually NOT incentivize people to want to come to games. They could have, at the very least, moved the band to the last couple rows so the students could get the front row seats and see the game more clearly.

The way to bring more students to games is not to take their seats away, it’s to stop regulating the student section. Stop telling them what they can and can’t say. Stop fostering an environment where it’s more important to be “respectful” than faithful to your school. Sports games, especially at such a big athletic school, should never be monitored by higher authority. They will ALWAYS want students to be less crude, but they will also want them to get loud and get excited.

I’m sorry, but the two are not mutually exclusive. In reality, we’re college kids. We’re going to stay stupid things, and we’re not going to care. Before we enter such a strict and politically correct world, we want one last chance to just let loose. This is everyone’s desire. I will not believe you if you tell me that you don’t wish to do stupid things without any repercussions.

So if the university wants to start making the student section more exciting, they could start by not taking up their seats and not holding them on such a short leash. This is college. Let’s have some fun for a change.


Stephanie Sheehan is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus, covering men’s basketball. She can be reached via email at stephanie.sheehan@uconn.edu. She tweets @steph_sheehan