CIAA band rule is bad for HBCU football

VSU Band CIAA bands

Killing the halftime battle of the bands is a losing proposition for the CIAA.

The CIAA has been a groundbreaker in athletics since it was founded back in 1912. The first conference to serve as a home for black college sports, it has been leading the way for HBCU 125, commemorating the 125th anniversary of the first game between HBCUs, Livingstone and Johnson C. Smith (then Biddle College).

But as the conference celebrates the history of black college football, complete with a commemorative logo,  it is also encroaching on what people love most about HBCU football with a new rule that already has bandheads shaking their collective fist.

An email circulated conference-wide announced that visiting bands would no longer be allowed to perform at halftime of CIAA football games effective this season.

“During all football regular season games, visiting bands may be invited to participate in the host game day experience but will not be allowed to participate in any halftime activity on the field. It will be at the home team’s discretion whether to allow the visiting band to participate in any post-game activities or performances,” the email read.

The new CIAA rule is in response to the NCAA’s stricter enforcement of the 20-minute halftime for regular season games, as teams will now be hit with a delay of game penalty if both teams are not ready to start the second half 20 minutes after the end of the first.


Anyone that has ever been to an HBCU football game will tell you that the halftime battle of the bands is the climax of most games, while the results are often simply a resolution that fans may or may not stick around for. Bands can come and perform in pregame (AKA Zero Quarter) or post-game (Fifth Quarter) but don’t expect those to be too lengthy.

“We will still likely do the ‘Fifth Quarter,’ but it won’t be that long,” Dr. Michael Macgruder, Winston-Salem State Director of Bands, told the Winston-Salem Journal late last month.

The CIAA blocking visiting bands from performing at halftime is an overreaction to the NCAA’s rule, one that the Athletics Director Association signed off on. One would think that with its teams struggling to attract fans at the Division II level that the ADA would do whatever it could to get butts in the seats, and bands surely help that. Then again, many of the bands in the conference are struggling for funding and their numbers are dwindling, so perhaps they were under pressure to alleviate the travel costs.

Whatever the reason and rationale behind such a decision, it will be interesting to see what the consequences and repercussions may be at the ticket gate. Maybe ticket sales won’t be affected at all, but perhaps we could see a reversal of this decree if fans stop showing up along with the bands.



  1. Stradivari

    September 6, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Who ever made these rules needs to be let go. Losing money all arouind on bothsides. Why can’t they use the MEAC rules or when a specail guess band like FAMU get a full 15min on the field no matter what band is on the otherside.Teams get a extra 10min in the locker room. We are the show of football. What committe makes up these rule. Is not a musican at all. With this one. Not going to any CIAA game this year without a real battle. SOrry MEAC SWAC. CIAA is wack.

  2. Eldridge Etienne

    September 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    This is “DUMB”! As an alumnus of an HBCU, Southern University, I think this is not smart. HBCU fans who show up consistently enjoy watching BOTH bands at half-time. One will very often see fans leave shortly after half-time, giving me the impression that they have seen what they came to the game to see. We also have to come to the realization that, although I am a fan of the young men out on the field and there to watch them from beginning to end, in most cases it’s not quite the same as in decades past. So why mess with something good. This past Sunday Southern vs. South Carolina State…BOTH BANDS, A WONDERFUL HALF-TIME show that ended with about 4:00 minutes of time left. THIS CAN BE DONE, and if you can’t afford to make the trip…..don’t do it!!

  3. James Stewart

    September 6, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    A perfect example of adult folks now out of college hurting their young in college. If they were still in school at a university the vote is NO to this foolish plan. The big 10, 12, M.E.A.C., S.W.A.C., both bands will play at half time. Look for a lot of transfers of fan support. This rule is just another simple-minded move towards closing your marching band programs. You better speak out against this rule. Why take your queens court to away games or ask the alumni to show up if you can’t see your school band at half time. It’s not just about the game on the field. Just as important is halftime gamesmanship of two bands.

  4. Calvin Holloway

    September 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    It is an unfortunate decision made in response to the NCAA’s strict enforcement of a 20 minute halftime. I understand the CIAA rule. The impact of the halftime running long results in a delay of penalty for the home team. Of you think visiting bands are going to cut their show short so the home team isn’t penalized, then you are naive. Hate to see this happen, but the CIAA is being proactive in avoiding conflict. I promise you that the home football teams will not care one bit that a visiting band is in the middle of their break down. They are taking the field to avoid a delay penalty.

  5. Drucella Roberts

    September 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    You are on the edge of losing the CIAA basketball tournament, as most ppl are not attending it as before. I and other friends definitely don’t give a shit about it. Simply because your committee couldn’t negotiate the exchange of 2 flies. You threw us the HBCU grads to the white bosses. So if you do this understand you will have lost a great deal of followers. I think in the long term, you may need a wake up call…Morons!

  6. Pingback: Why Did the CIAA Cancel Halftime Marching Band Battles?


    September 6, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    How about 5 minute shows max with a penalty for going over 6 minutes? That would give both teams time to do their shows and get on and off the field.

    • Lillian Burley

      September 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      This is just another way of Uncle Joe honing in on HBCU’s. We all know that the HWCU’ s can’t bring it like we can.

    • kappaman

      September 6, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      What a crock of Shi**

  8. Chocolate

    September 6, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    This will clearly take some fun out the experience for the fans of music. Most schools don’t have football powerhouses. The student body, community and alumni take pride in seeing a great halftime performance from both institutions. It’s a moral booster and for bragging rights. This is not only un-American, it’s un-funkable!

  9. Brian M

    September 6, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Isn’t band supposed to be about discipline? Learn to follow the time restrictions and this would be a non-issue. But no one wants to talk about that. It’s simple. It’s a delay of game penalty if the bands are in the field too long. That’s nothing new. Stricter ENFORCEMENT of the rule is new.

  10. William Bee

    September 6, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    F the NCAA …. Take the Delay of Game Penalty!
    besides it’s only a 5yard – max 15yard Penalty! Ticket Sales at the gate, Fannies in the Seats, Concessions of popcorn, hot dogs and chicken wings flowing, and the Battle Continues!
    In fact NCAA & CIAA, we’re keeping the Battle of the Band half time show and you can give us 2 Delay of Game Penalties! Now Smoke on THAT!!

  11. Buya Tuner

    September 7, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I’d like for an HBCU band to play in tune with good intonation one time. Then we can talk about it getting enough time on the field.

    • Sam

      September 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

      It’s entertainment. They are so bad, they’re good. You are fascinated. When you are having fun, intonation is not important. There is a glory of the Moon and a glory of the Sun. They are different. Please go and find bands with good intonation, with no rhythm, no life and personality, and leave us alone.

  12. Robert Alexander

    September 7, 2017 at 5:55 am

    I’m just so disappointed about this my son was a snare player for VSU honestly I only went to the games because of the Bands. Well they lost my tickets

  13. Tony

    September 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

    We need to protest this.. Bullshit.

  14. Rleanor

    September 7, 2017 at 11:35 am

    The highlight of my band career was visiting another university to show them up on their own turf! What a disgusting decision! Please don’t let this filter to the MEAC!

  15. Nola

    September 7, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    The battle of the bands at halftime is great but lest we forget, it happens during the halftime of a football game. The idea of a 5th quarter where the bands battle is actually a fun idea. If you aren’t there to see the game anyway, then showing up later won’t be a big deal. You stay after the game for the real battle without being rushed by a pesky football game. Win-win.

  16. Jim Battle

    September 7, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Instead of ruling visiting bands can not perform at halftime, rule only one band can perform. Leave it to the home school to decide which band. Some schools may not have a band or would rather a better band from the competing school perform for spectator entertainment.

  17. Pingback: Bands Back: CIAA ADs have a change of heart on halftime decision - HBCU Gameday

  18. Tavia

    September 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    This is one of MANY reasons I don’t like HBCU they always MAKING it hard or Taking Fun out of doing things.THIS MAKES NO SENSE,Good Luck with This.

  19. BandGeekGod

    September 8, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Don’t blame the CIAA ADs. Blame the white people at the NCAA. They only think of the big D1 schools when implementing these general but far-reaching rules. They don’t think about “us”! HBCUs do what’s best so they won’t lose funding or be penalized as a result.

  20. Percy Frazier Jr

    September 8, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Thats thev”American way” to some people, if they don’t like something they get a enough people to cast a vote, and if they don’t like somthing they just make a rule against it, the flip side of “the coin”

  21. Steve

    September 9, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I marched at Prairie View A&M University with the Marching Storm from 1996-2002. At that time, all we had was the band. Our football team held the (guiness book of world records) record for the most consecutive losses. The stands at Our games would be really shallow after half time. It was CLEAR that people were only coming to see the game for the halftime show. This rule will diminish the lure of HBCU football, it is just as good iand important as the game to HBCU’s.

  22. Rick

    September 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Folks should be upset and address the senior leadership of the NCAA and possibly look at the TV and other sponsorship contracts that may have influenced such a decision, especially since most HBCUs are least likely to receive significant if any financial benefits.

  23. Casey

    September 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Why yall mad at the CIAA…it is the white folks at the NCAA making this rule…the same organization that pimps black males in the only moneymaker they have (basketball) in order to fund all the other sports that no one gives a shit about that white folks play (womens sports, tennis, swimming, etc.)

  24. Dontravis Allen

    September 16, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    High School are shrinking in numbers & bands so I guess the trend continues into College HBCU’s… Whomever thought of this is just ignorant. As a former Band member… Those guys work their asses off to put on a Show for hundreds upon thousands of spectators… And let’s be Real folks… Most go to the Games for Halftime anyway… It’s ah sad day in HBCU’s if this stupid idea is made to stick throughout all regular Football games… I wonder if anyone on this board Ever Marched? How would u feel if all your hard work went out the window… Don’t make those kids suffer … It cost nothing to get out on that field & wow a crowd who’s probably watching a hopeless game anyway… Let Halftime Be!

  25. Beverly Fox

    October 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    The real reason I go to football games is for the entertainment of the bands, of course I watch the game but… the band is what keeps me engaged. Who the hell thought to diminish/obliterate band competition at a freaking football game. THIS LOUSY DECISION NEEDS TO BE REVERSED!

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