The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

September 27, 2012

Your View: Where’s our pep?

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — I am writing to band parents about a grave injustice put forth on your high school pep bands. It seems that the Missouri State High School Activities Association has decided that all your students’ practice time was and is a waste.

In the current MSHSAA basketball guidelines book (which is available online), the pep bands are not allowed to play from just before tipoff until halftime and then not again until the end of the game so as “to let the cheerleaders do their cheers” and “so the coaches can give instructions to their teams.”

My question is this: How did coaches give instructions for the past 100 years and who made the cheerleaders more important than everybody else?

In a time when students are being kept from cheering on their team, someone has found a way to take the pep bands out of the basketball game experience.

I am not seeking to have the cheerleaders removed, but for a long time there was never a problem with pep bands playing at the correct times (except for free throw, injury timeout, and technical foul) throughout a basketball game.

If you attend a college basketball game there is full involvement from everybody via a script system where everybody (announcer, band, cheerleaders, dance team, contests) has a turn to show their talents.

I think the fair thing to do is to either revert back to the old way where it was a free-for-all or go to a script style where after the announcements and the national anthem are done, the pep band, home and visiting cheerleaders draw straws for their order for the rest of the night except for halftime festivities such as dance team, ROTC demonstrations, and homecoming coronations; and then the rotation picks up again.

I am asking all band parents, supporters and boosters to please contact the MSHSAA and let them know you are not happy with the current setup. I sent a letter to the National Federation of High School Sports and Missouri State High School Activities Association about the issue of pep bands. The NFHS replied, saying they have no rules on this issue. MSHSAA did not reply, but if it is confronted by the numbers, it will have to answer to someone.

Warren Ingram

St. Joseph

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