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Sorry not sorry? Rice offers explanation for Baylor-bashing band formations

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University issues statement stating the ‘MOB’s efforts have may have gone too far’

NCAA Football: Rice at North Texas
A member of the Rice MOB plays a violin during a game against North Texas last season. Some people thought the MOB was inappropriate for Friday’s formations poking fun at Baylor.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

While touchdowns and tackles are usually straightforward things that most everyone agrees on, satire can cause a great many differences of opinion.

As was the case Friday during halftime of Baylor 38-10 win over Rice. Did Rice’s band, the MOB (The Marching Owl Band), go offsides in poking fun at Baylor’s off the field problems?

The band made Title IX and a star formations during its halftime show. Baylor is being sued regarding Title IX breaches for not fully investigating claims of sexual assault on campus and involving students. Baylor president Ken Starr resigned during the scandal.

This isn’t the first time the MOB made fun of an opponent’s situation. It probably won’t be the last. But given the subject was sexual assault, it of course ruffled feathers.

Rice University issued a statement on Saturday.

“The MOB has a tradition of satirizing the Rice Owls’ football opponents,” the statement stated. “In this case, the band’s calling attention to the situation at Baylor was subject to many different interpretations. Although the band’s halftime shows are entirely the members’ projects with no prior review by the university administration, we regret any offense, particularly if Baylor fans may have felt unwelcome in our stadium.”

Another part of the statement dealt with the serious nature of sexual assault.

“Sexual assault is a matter of serious concern on campuses across the nation, and all of us have an obligation to address the matter with all the tools at our disposal,” the statement stated. “The MOB sought to highlight the events at Baylor by satirizing the actions or inactions of the Baylor administration, but it is apparent from the comments of many spectators and Baylor fans that the MOB’s effort may have gone too far.”

Don’t overlook the ‘may’ in the final sentence. As is this case in political satire, some may be offered while some may think it’s funny. The university didn’t full condemn the MOB nor speak of discipline, but it did attempt to calm down the situation through an explanation, especially for those unfamiliar with the band’s practices.

Passion in all things college football runs deep, and that extends to the halftime show. To this day, many Iowa fans are still upset with Stanford for the band’s Rose Bowl halftime show.

Whether you think it was offensive or hilarious, give the MOB credit for this much. The band’s job is to entertain, and setting aside political correctness just for a second, the MOB fulfilled its duty.