BOZEMAN — Visiting marching bands will no longer play at the annual Cat-Griz football game, following joint decisions by Montana State University and the University of Montana.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Montana State University Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Montana Intercollegiate Athletics, detailing many agreements on the Cat-Griz Game, including the visiting team leaving its marching band at home.
MTN reached out to the University of Montana and spoke with Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz, who sent us the memo as well as this statement:
“Last spring, leaders from UM and MSU jointly agreed to a new practice of providing the visiting team with complimentary and purchased tickets for the Brawl of the Wild. This agreement was put into place to ensure each University has an understanding of how many tickets will be made available for Brawls of the Wild to visiting university officials and fans. As part of this agreement, the visiting team has agreed to not bring their band to away games. Speaking directly for UM, with ticket sales being the primary source of revenue for the athletic department, this agreement ensures that Grizzly Athletics is prioritizing the needs of our hundreds of student athletes. Grizzly Athletics does not receive any financial support from the State of Montana and receives the lowest amount of institutional support (funds generated from student fees) of any school in the Big Sky Conference. This is why the ticket revenue is so critical to the University. We understand that folks are disappointed with this decision, but it was made with the priority being our student athletes. “
Kuntz also said that without the bands, the universities will be able to sell an additional 200-300 season ticket packages.
Montana State Assistant Athletic Director Bill Lamberty also spoke to MTN and said that, similarly to UM, this will assist student-athletes and give opportunities for tickets to fans.
Frank Harney, a fifth-year member of the Spirit of the West, was disappointed to hear that the band will not be making the trip to Missoula for the game.
“You know it’s a real disappointment at first, learning that we weren’t going over for Cat-Griz,” Harney said. “So I’m a member of the band fraternity here on campus, and we have records dating back to the 80s of this tradition of bands going over for Cat-Griz games.”
Though the marching band is disappointed, they are noticing a new tradition emerge from the Cats.
“We have new traditions that we’re forming as a college and a band, like going to the playoffs more often, so we’re looking forward to that as well,” Harney said.