UAB band members frustrated they won’t attend Bahamas Bowl

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:49 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In two weeks, the UAB Blazers will be heading to the Bahamas for their bowl game, but the band will not be joining them. The university says their budget is limiting who can attend the trip.

Several band members are saying they were originally led to believe they’d be going and are frustrated they aren’t. Some of them had already started applying for expedited passports.

“As soon as I got the news, I went and got my application, ripped it up and just threw it in the trash,” said Aidan Dunaway, who’s on the drumline. “Walked away.”

He is just one member of the Marching Blazers who was trying to get an expedited passport for the Bahamas Bowl before finding out the news.

“About 8:30 Monday night, saying the University had decided to go in another direction and keep us from going on the Bowl trip,” said Raegan Phillips, another drumline member.

It’s also his senior year.

“In my head, it’s like okay,” explained Phillips. “I’ve got one last time in a UAB Band uniform, last time to represent my university and it’s disheartening because we put in so much work.”

Some band members even put their own money into the organization. Luckily, Phillips and Dunaway didn’t yet purchase a passport but they say some band members already did.

The Marching Blazers have attended bowl games in the past, including the Bahamas Bowl in 2017.

UAB sent the following statement:

Phillips said he was surprised when the university mentioned funding as being the main reason for the decision.

“I mean, it was a little surprising considering the band made that trip in 2017, especially after having no revenue from football for the previous three years since the football program was cut in 2014,” he added.

“It’s definitely going to make a statement to people who are wanting to join the band and come be a part of this organization,” said Dunaway.

Two other band members who wished to remain anonymous sent the following statements:

1. “The best way to describe it was disappointing. The band supports the football team whenever we get the opportunity and there are no fans more dedicated to that team than us. It sucks that we won’t be there to support them in the bowl game especially since it’s doubtful that many fans will be making that trip. When it comes to students like me who aren’t music majors we get very little scholarship money from the band and the financial cost is huge. We dedicate a lot of time and money into doing this because we love it. Many of us have been marching for years and for some this is the last time they will step foot on a field with a band. It sucks that they don’t get anything for all the years they have dedicated to it.”

2. “My frustration comes from feeling like we have been lied too by higher ups about the actual reasons of not being able to go. The last thing I want this to sound like is us complaining about not getting a free trip, but cost of things has never been an issue for UAB - we’ve gone on a trip to the Bahamas in 2017, and after that consecutively built four new buldings on campus, took two other bowl trips, built a new stadium, the list can go on. Dr. Morantz on tuesday with the symphony band brought up that during the committe meeting for the bowl game, the band was cleared to go and we were given instruction about expedited passports (a $208.32 cost + a $47.99 fee from our personal pockets). Not even 24 hours later we were told that the band was in fact not going, despite dozens of members going to get their applications for passports submitted. We were offered refunds, but if the committee would have clearly communicated with the band, it could have been entirely avoided. I feel like we’re a background group at UAB. The atheltic department and Ray Watts could care less about the band, despite us being the only ones in the stand in either Protective or Bartow, no matter the weather or day. I also don’t understand why it feels like pulling teeth to get a statement from either one about why the band couldn’t go - even if we had to pay for the tickets ourselves, I guarantee some of us would just to support our team, but it goes unacknowledged. We’re use to it though.”

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