The University of Wisconsin Marching Band found itself in hot water this week when news broke about a letter of admonishment sent to band director Michael Leckrone on Oct. 3 by UW Chancellor John Wiley. The chancellor reprimanded the band for misconduct during a road trip to Ann Arbor for the Sept. 23 Badger football game against Michigan. In this letter, and in a direct statement made by Wiley to the band on Oct. 5, the chancellor established new rules for the famously raucous group and threatening the group with "virtual extinction" should inappropriate behaviors continue.
This news blossomed into a full-blown collegiate kerfuffle over the course of the week, as national media jumped on the story in search of specific instances of misconduct by band members. On Thursday afternoon, Wiley and Leckrone issued a joint statement enumerating instances of this misconduct, the bulk of which was described by the chancellor as "sexualized and hazing misbehavior."
For UW students and alumni, the UW Marching Band has a long-established reputation for both the consumption of alcohol and for misbehavior, be it minor and humorous to the more serious cases listed in the Thursday's report. They also have a reputation for hard work, particularly among those who have observed the band practice on autumn afternoons by the UW Hospital, not to mention during halftime at Camp Randall. Instances of both have been captured on video.
Clips of the UW Marching Band in action follow below.
This first video features the tuba section of the marching band performing at a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. More specifically, the Nov. 14, 2004 game at Lambeau Field was the scene of one of the band's better-known pranks, one that apparently instigated the infamous mooning of Green Bay by one-time Viking Randy Moss. The person who posted the video clip from the Fox broadcast of the game sets up the scene:
In the May 16th issue of Sports Illustrated, writer Karl Taro Greenfield asked Moss in an interview why he [mooned Green Bay]... While the act was spontaneous, Moss concedes that it was rooted in revenge. "I told myself I was going to get Green Bay fans back for their little antics when I was hurt." Moss is referring to a performance by the University of Wisconsin Marching Band at the Vikings-Packers game on Nov. 14, 2004. Taunting Moss, who was on the sideline in street clothes because of a pulled hamstring, the band appeared with their tubas bearing cloth covers on which were letters that spelled out: WHERE YOU AT MOSS?
Here's the video:
A more recent video of the UW Marching Band depicts it performing the fighting song for the San Diego State Aztecs during the game at Camp Randall on Sep. 16, 2006. More recent shots of the band, including their performances of "On Wisconsin" and the Fifth Quarter at the Oct. 7, 2006 game against Northwestern, are available in a previous round of MadVideos: Fan fun at Camp Randall. There's also ongoing discussion about the UW Marching Band and its troubles on TDPF.