HOUSTON - Rice University has issued an apology after a controversial halftime performance during their football game against Baylor University on Friday.
Rice’s Marching Owl Band, referred to as The MOB, poked fun at the sexual assault scandal that unfolded at Baylor University last year.
A few minutes into the show, The MOB formed a roman number nine “IX” referring to the Title IX lawsuits sexual assault victims have filed against Baylor in the last year.
They later made a star, mocking former Baylor President Ken Starr who resigned because of the scandal.
“I think it didn’t really blow up until later when people in the press box posted the videos on Twitter,” said Ryan Trauffler, a Rice student. “I think the consensus at Rice is that The MOB didn’t do a whole lot wrong. Overall, Rice students think it was important to remind people what happened at Baylor and not just brush it to the side.”
Other Rice fans told KHOU 11 News The MOB always pokes fun at other schools.
“They’re usually scandalous, so it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said a student.
“Uh maybe a little too far. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know about that one,” said another fan.
A lot of spectators agreed the halftime show was offensive.
As a result, Rice University issued the following statement Saturday afternoon:
“The Marching Owl Band, or MOB, has a tradition of satirizing the Rice Owls’ football opponents. 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. While we know that the MOB did not intend in any way to make light of the serious issue of sexual assault, we are concerned that some people may have interpreted the halftime performance in that vein. 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 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.“