circustentDid you guys hear about the circus that came to Dallas Saturday night at the Cotton Bowl? No, it wasn’t the Ringling Brothers Circus or the UniverSoul Circus. The circus I am referring to is the annual State Fair Classic. It’s a circus that didn’t have any animals, but had plenty of clowns and sideshows. Unfortunately, these types of clowns don’t make you laugh…they actually piss you off.

The 2009 football game between Grambling and Prairie View was as classic and historic as they come. One could not ask for a better game – a different outcome maybe – but that is beside the point. At times the game itself had to take a backseat to the sideshows conducted by clowns who insisted on being seen and heard.

Let’s start with the public address announcer (a local radio personality) who insisted on giving us radio play-by-play over the stadium PA system. It simply wasn’t enough to just give us down and distance.

Then there were the clowns who threw hats from the upper deck of the stadium down to the crowd on the lower level. I guess they never thought about the potential risk for injury that could cause, or the possible spillage of food and drinks that could occur from the initial surprise people might have of items falling down upon them.

But the feature sideshow came from the people who wanted to use the Cotton Bowl’s newly built jumbotron and sound system for all it was worth. I can’t remember how many times promotional gimmicks, celebrity shout-outs and video promotions were conducted while the quarterback was under center calling signals. This is really were things got out of control and is a classic example of the SFC promoter and organizers not having any respect for game being played on the gridiron by both schools.

Panther 88, who has his own unique perspective of the events surrounding the SFC, made one thing very clear:

Class, dignity, pride, respect. THAT is what the SFC used to represent. The monkey show and circus act last night surrounding a GREAT game and atmosphere were totally uncalled for.

Al Wash, promoter of the SFC, and his staff should take some time to read the NCAA Rules and Interpretations handbook. In Section 2, Article 1 of the handbook it clearly states:

There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct or any act that interferes with orderly game administration on the part of players, substitutes, coaches, authorized attendants or any other persons subject to the rules, before the game, during the game or between periods.

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

At the very least, Wash and his staff should consider taking a trip to New Orleans to witness how things are done at the Bayou Classic. If he goes he will likely see how all Bayou Classic sponsors are able to get ample promotional time without affecting game play.

But why do I get the feeling that is not likely to happen?


  1. Hopefully Mr. Walsh will take notes and do better. I’ve heard when you know better you do better. I saw several things that I’m sure I would not see if I were attending the Texas vs OU game.

    Thanks for the article Kenn!

  2. I have not missed the Bayou Classic since 1986 and the most annoying aspects about the entire experience are the extremely lound and untimely advertisements. The same thing can be said about any other “classic” in a similar venue. To be honest, the bands are just as guilty as the promoters for playing full tilt while the players are approaching the line of scrimage. Like it or not, that is what HBCU “classic” football has come to.

  3. SWACATACK, the advertisements in the dome during the BC are indeed loud, but I can’t agree that they are untimely. I don’t ever recall an ad being shown on the in-house video screen while play was in action or while the QB was under center. It was always done during a recognized time out.

  4. I would say there have been a few and maybe not enough to notice. I think that the larger part of the professionalism exhibited at the BC can be attributed to two things, 1) The Dome is a professional area 2) The game is nationally televised. Both of those come with higher standards and controls in place to administer those standards. I don’t think we can put it all on the promoter. Some of it has to be extended to the sponsors. In this case, StateFarm which is also the Sponsor of the BC. Nonetheless, good article.

  5. Good article, the guy with me at the game finished from Georgia Tech. This was the first thing he complained about after the game was over. I was also disappointed in both bands. The continued to play while the ball was in play even after the announcer told them to stop.


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