The Rules states: Persons subject to the rules, including bands, shall not create any noise that prohibits a team from hearing its signals.

Procedures

a. Once the offensive team breaks the “Huddle” and approaches the line of scrimmage the band shall cease playing. Bands shall not play music at football games while the ball is play, or while signals are being called by the quarterback. This means that it is not permissible to use either:

  1. Drum roll or beat
  2. Cymbals clashing
  3. Horn sounds, or
  4. Any other kind of musical instrument while the ball is in play is underway in football.

b. It is designated that for all Conference games the visiting band be allowed to perform during the first dead-ball, team or official timeout. The home team band will be allowed to play during the next dead-ball, team or official timeout. From that point on, both the visiting team and home team bands shall alternate playing during breaks in play for the rest of the contest. At no time are both bands allowed to play simultaneously during the game.

1st Timeout – Visiting Team Band

2nd Timeout – Home Team Band

3rd Timeout – Visiting Team Band

4th Timeout – Home Team Band

5th Timeout – Visiting Team Band

6th Timeout – Home Team Band

c. The half-time intermission shall be limited to 20 minutes. The clock will start immediately when both teams and the game officials clear the field.

  • Visiting Team Band shall play first
  • Home Team Band shall play second

d. No penalty flags will be thrown, nor will any team be penalized. The referee will stop play and announce to the fans that he is asking the band to stop playing. This will also signal the public address announcer to make the same request. The game officials will do this twice per team.

Any additional violations should be reported to the Coordinator of Football Officials who in turn will advise the Conference office. Bands found to have violated the policies listed above may be subject to the following penalties.

1st Offense – public reprimand and censure;
2nd Offense – public reprimand and suspension from performing during the next contest and/or a fine to be determined by the Commissioner;
3rd Offense – suspension from performing for the remainder of the season.



28 COMMENTS

    • No it isn't. I just went to a game yesterday where the Tennessee St. band played CONSTANTLY during the game; while the ball was in play. They didn't just play little snippets of music. They played long pieces. Nobody could enjoy the game or even pay attention to the game. They were OBLIVIOUS to the fact that anything besides their playing chanting and dancing was going on.

  1. I would like to know who in their right mind would come up with these rules. We are literally dismissing the history and essence of black college football. Everyone knows that for years since there was a band they have been playing and making the the game enjoyable. The band is the largest that the fans come to the game. With these rules in place we will surely overtime see the attendance drop.

  2. Obviously the people responsible for these rules are not from the SWAC. Nor do they have any idea about the impact of band battles or the importance of music in all HBCU’s. I was in the marching band at Grambling and I can’t believe it has come to this. This is truly a slap in the face of tradition. Every since I was 3 years old I have been attending black college football games. The games are good. But in the HBCU’s IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BAND. If we have come to the point where we have to suspend bands for future games and half-time shows, what are we saying about the role they play in the game. Think about it. What would the game be without the band. Just A Game.

  3. This new rules are terrible!! The bands are a major recruiting tool for most HBCUs. The SWAC have the best bands in black colleges. Thousands of high school school kids come to the games to hear the bands. I know I did when I was growing up. I don’t know who is responsible for this nonsense, but these rules should be revamped.

  4. Actually these rules are different than every other conferance out there. There is no conferance that tells the bands when they can or cannot play. Show me where they have a listing to say the visiting band plays on the first dead ball and then the home band and then they just alternate from that time on thru the game.

  5. Sorry…I should be more specific. The rules are actually set by the NCAA. It is in the rule book as it relates to noise that prohibits a team from hearing its signals.

    That is what these rules set by the SWAC are all about. Our band directors simply refuse to abide by the rules. Therefore, the SWAC had no choice but to do this.

    I am all for it!

  6. There is no place in the NCAA handbook/rules that says any of this:

    It is designated that for all Conference games the visiting band be allowed to perform during the first dead-ball, team or official timeout. The home team band will be allowed to play during the next dead-ball, team or official timeout. From that point on, both the visiting team and home team bands shall alternate playing during breaks in play for the rest of the contest. At no time are both bands allowed to play simultaneously during the game.

    1st Timeout Visiting Team Band
    2nd Timeout Home Team Band
    3rd Timeout Visiting Team Band
    4th Timeout Home Team Band
    5th Timeout Visiting Team Band
    6th Timeout Home Team Band

  7. You are right. There is nothing in the NCAA handbook that states what you posted specifically.

    What you posted is the end result of SWAC bands not following the rules originally created by the NCAA. It is one of those cause and effect type of things.

  8. Yeah, it’s gonna CAUSE folks to stay away from some games and EFFECT the bottom line.

    $$$$$

    At all of these Classics & Games, what are they constantly promoting? Battle of the Bands and Halftime Shows.

  9. Most HBCU fans attend the football games and expect to see and hear the bands playing. This is one of the primary draws for going to an HBCU football game. This has been our history since conception. My father was a band director and received his education and training from Southern University. My youngest brother was in the Southern University Jaguar band during his entire college years. Our family has always attended the SWAC games and not just to watch the football game but to watch my brother and other relatives and friends perform (in the stands, on the sidelines, and on the field during half-time) with the bands.

    I understand that new rules of engagement are in order to ensure that game calls can be heard, but to say that this band plays 1st and the other next…

    How do you account for play to motivate the team and fans to drum up a rally? After a big play, I think the fans and the football team expect the bands to play, especially the fight song. This is sort of a rally and/or motivation to the team to continue playing strong! This spirit happens even in high school football.

    I think aspects of the “SPIRIT” of the game will be lost. Personally, I believe that as long as we play other HBCU teams this has not been a problem. It seems that as soon as we start playing non-HBCU teams our rules have to change.

    If this is truly what will happen, we may see a decrease in attendance because it will change the dynamics of the Black College Football Experience!

  10. Take the bands out of SWAC games and you literally will destroy the football games. There was 10,000 people at the Grambling/Alcorn game. 7,500 were there to see the band. When Grambling plays Prairie View in a couple of weeks there will be 65,000 people in the stands. After the halftime show there will only be 10,000. Big schools have their fans to make the noise that the teams need to get pumped up.

  11. <p>THIS IS SOOO DAMN STUPID!!! WTF? THAT IS SO STUPID. I HOPE THEY FIND A WAY TO STRIKE THIS DOWN BY LOWERING GAME ATTENDANCE OR SOMETHING…..WHO COMES UP WITH THIS DUMB stuff…..I LOVE TO HEAR THE BAND.. WHO WANTS TO GO TO A QUIET GAME? WTF WANTS TO DO THAT?!!!</p>

    • It's not a question of the game being quiet. It's a question of the teams hearing the signals. You play during a stoppage in play, not while plays are going on. Bands add to the entertainment value of the game. They are not supposed to be the focal point. If they think they are they are missing the point.

  12. I’ve reviewed the SWAC’s new “administrative procedures” for bands. Although they may have been well intended, they reflect an obvious uniformed or misinformed opinion by SWAC leadership. At best it is a misguided attempt to correct a non existing problem; at worst, it speaks to a capriciousness which does not serve the best interest of member schools or their fans. It screams, rule by fiat! (I will do this BECAUSE I CAN!!)

    I am hard pressed to recall a situation involving a band continuing to play after being warned by a game official. If and when such a warning is ignored, the appropriate action is to apply the penalty called for by NCAA rule. Where was the great outcry that drove the SWAC to take such unprecedented action?

    I am a season ticket holder. I drive 6.5 hours, one way, to attend EVERY home game of my team. I will not stop supporting my team, but this is another instance which reinforces my lack of support for current SWAC leadership.

    How can SWAC leaders be so out of touch with its constituency? How can SWAC leaders knowingly neuter a marquee conference asset? They need only listen to comments of national braodcast commentators extol “the atmosphere of excitement” generated by the school band at HBCU and SWAC games especially.

    It is a serious misjudgment, on their part, to believe they are just uplifting and enlightening a “backward” group of sycophants, who will go along with every decree issued. I believe the appropriate action for responsible fans to take is to let school leaders know, these new procedures unnecessarily restrict the contribution of SWAC bands, to the unique essence and spirit of a SWAC game.

    I suggest school newspapers, student groups, alumni associations and all other concerned groups and individuals take the time to contact their school leaders by letter, e-mail or petition and make it clear that these new procedures are unwarranted and unwelcomed. The ultimate result will be to render SWAC games “. . . clean as a Safeway chittlin”; pleasing to the eye but NO FLAVOR!

  13. I have been going to HBCU games since the age of one. The battle of the bands is a part of our rich history. I understand that the teams need to hear the calls, just don’t understand why it has become a problem. Is it that the young players listen to such LOUD music daily , which has challenged their hearing.

    I was at the Alcorn game with the silent band and not sure if I will be renewing my season tickets after this year.
    IT’S NOT THE SAME!!!!

  14. You all have got to be kidding, right? It is a FOOTBALL GAME! A vital part of all of football prohibits artificial noisemakers from distracting the playcalling. The band can play if their OWN team has the ball, but that only gives the advantage to the defense because no hot signals can be made at the line of scrimmage…because…THEY (the offense) CAN’T HEAR!!!

    I’m a band geek, but honestly…it doesn’t mean you can’t play the fanfares, or the fight songs, it means you can’t just up and play a song just prior to the snap of the ball.

    The SWAC started reverting back to this style a few years ago. It wasn’t always like this. It used to be more of a MEAC thing…if I remember correctly!

    Hang around for the 5th and you’ll hear all of your favorite songs. Better yet…cheer for your team and the bands won’t have to fill that empty void of crickets chirping coming outta the stands….

    I can’t believe ya’ll whining about the band playing during a football play!!! Whowouldathunkit…..

  15. Better yet…cheer for your team and the bands won’t have to fill that empty void of crickets chirping coming outta the stands….

    Good post

  16. I want to know; did the council of Presidents vote on this rule? If they did, their reasoning for voting on such a rule was flawed.
    The game officials have been controling the noise level by assesseing penalties aganist the violators. The rule is counter productive to what HBCU football is all about. You are now destroying the salablility of the product.

    “THIS RULE SHOULD BE RECINDED IMMEDIATELY”

  17. Please dont try to tell me that this isnt part of the rules. The NCAA goes much further than the SWAC. The NCAA prohibits not just playing with the ball in play, but also pre-snap. Please read below and start realizing that black college tradition isnt above the rules.

    NCAA Football rules page 123

    6. Persons subject to the rules, including bands, shall not create any
    noise that prohibits a team from hearing its signals (Rule 1-1-6).
    PENALTY—Dead-ball foul. 15 yards [S7 and S27] from the succeeding
    spot. Flagrant offenders, if players or substitutes, shall be
    disqualified [S47].

  18. It’s always interesting when folks quote “the rules”. I always attempt to “interpret” the rule being quoted to determine possible intent. I believe if the intent of rule 6 from page 123 of the NCAA Football rules book was to require bands NOT TO PLAY, pre-snap or during play, it would have ended after “…shall not create any noise…” rather than continue with the qualifing phrase, “…that prohibits a team from hearing its signals.”

    I have witnessed quaterbacks step away from the center and ask the referee for assistance when they could not execute the snap count. If in the referee’s opinion (as the on site judge in the situation) it is a violation of Rule 1-1-6, appropriate warning/penalty is announced. I don’t believe additional procedural guidance is required.

  19. Food for thought.

    (Extracted from an on-line article; Dallas Morning News.com)

    “And the Band Played On”

    By MIKE DANIEL / The Dallas Morning News

    As we all know, football is a subculture in the South. Entire communities revolve around high school games on Friday nights and college games on Saturdays. The stands become pews as fans evangelize and socialize in front of the gridiron pulpit. …

    But in the latter event, football is the opening act for the main event. Fans really show up for the show-style bands.
    The burgeoning popularity of marching bands at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is beginning to enter mainstream pop culture thanks to performances at mega-major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and movies such as 2002’s Drumline starring Nick Cannon. …

    An exhibit currently on view at the African American Museum, “And the Band Played On: Why Black People Really Go to College Football Games,” is believed to be the first such display to catalog the history, mechanisms and goals of those funky, over-the-top ensembles.
    For example: More than 50,000 people are expected to pack the Cotton Bowl during the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic on Saturday. Most will arrive during the first quarter, and most will leave just after halftime. …

    “At games between HBCUs, the band is, more often than not, the centerpiece of the game,” says local photojournalist John Posey, curator of the exhibit. …

    “Even if it’s a small school, they’ll have a band on the field to represent that school’s character and reputation,” he says. . . .

    “It’s the mission of the exhibit to serve as a reminder about this exciting and educational aspect of black history,” Mr. Posey says. “People are really wedded to the phenomenon. It’s an extension of a lot of our cultures and traditions, from Caribbean drum line cadences to rhythmic dance.”

    “The bands are extensions of a school’s personality, as an ambassador,” Mr. Posey says. “It’s almost like football; the school will devote good resources to it, and high schools will emulate big college programs by running the same systems and routines that they do.”…

    Published in The Dallas Morning News: 10.01.04

  20. No one is try to “ban the bands”, just to limit them from impacting the actual play on the field. And, sorry, I dont know why you are trying to interpret the rules. Just follow them, what’s so difficult about just simply following the rules.

    Can someone please help me?

    This is a football game, and the bands should simply not be able to impact the game….the crowd yes, the game no.

    Is this why we are getting beat when we face non-hbcus – are we relying on the band to confuse the other team and prevent them from communicating?

    Let’s love the bands at halftime, timeouts and stoppages of play…and then let’s play great football when the whistle blows!

  21. It seems as though the SWAC leadership is attempting to do just that, interpret the NCAA rules, and while doing so, expanding and amplifing those rules. The base rule in the NCAA rule book appears clear, without emblishment.

    In regards to your question: “Is this why we are getting beat when we play non HBCUs?” I sure you can figure that one out.

    Peace

  22. You see this is why HBCU athletes really are not going to flourish and will not go pro or whatever. If you look at other (non HBCU) conferences, these rules don’t count. The stadiums are rocking. And loud as hell. Same with pro. I don’t know what SWAC is trying to prove but this is the declination of music programs throughout the conferences and it shows that they don’t give a crap about the organization.

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