HOUSTON – The halftime performance from a football game at Rice University has gone viral, due to its controversial nature.
The Owls were playing the Baylor Bears at their home opener Friday night. At halftime, the Rice Marching Owl Band, or “MOB”, formed the Roman numeral nine. Normally that might not have been a big deal except the symbol was in reference to the Title 9 federal law that Baylor is accused of violating in a sexual assault scandal.
The band also made itself into a star, which was a knock on Ken Starr, Baylor's former president, who resigned under pressure amid the scandal.
While the “MOB” is known for its off-color performances, which often poke fun at the other team, some people think this particular performance went too far. However, most Rice students said it was all in good football fun.
“I don’t think they were making a joke out of it. I think they were just saying it happened. I don’t think they were making fun of the victims,” Rice student Miriam Matney said.
“I think this was appropriate for a band that claims to do parodies,” Rice student Jake Reinhart said.
Rice University released a statement Saturday that read:
"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."
The Baylor Bears took the victory over the Rice Owls 38-10.