The K-State marching band came to a halt while playing the “Wabash Cannonball” during Saturday’s pre-game show before the Wildcats took on Baylor.
The Wabash, voted best tradition in the Big 12 by ESPN, had become the background music to an “(expletive) KU” chant by fans in the student section, according to the K-State Collegian.
But when the obscene chant started Saturday, band director Frank Tracz blew his whistle for the band to stop. Once stopped, a pre-recorded message of head football coach Bill Snyder asking students to stop the chant played on the video board.
According to the Collegian, Snyder asked fans to not disrespect a tradition with a vulgar chant.
“To let some kids that are quite immature and irresponsible think they can be flippant about things and say things just because they are in a crowd … to ruin what so many people have spent so many years building, that’s sad to me,” Tracz told the Collegian.
Administration had previously discussed stopping the band mid-performance if fans started the chant, Tracz told the Collegian. He then received a message from the president’s office and K-State Athletics to stop the band if he heard the chant.
After the game, band member Marissa Grace Sullivan posted a letter on Facebook to express her frustrations with K-State students.
“The Kansas State University Marching band ... was forced to stop in the middle of the No. 1 pregame tradition in the Big 12 because apparently making KSU’s rivalry with KU known is more important than enjoying the company of 50,000+ KSU family members and listening to the Wabash,” Sullivan wrote. When a vulgar chant … is shouted over the marching band, it disrespects the hours that the band puts into learning pregame.”
Sullivan’s post has received over 150 shares.
“It also disrespects the history of the Wabash Cannonball,” she wrote. “It’s not just a song about a train that the students move back and forth to.”
According to the K-State marching band’s history, the tradition dates to 1968 when the “Wabash Cannonball” was the only piece of sheet music to survive a building fire.
“Since then the Wabash Cannonball has come to represent the survival of the underdog in the hearts and minds of all true K-State fans, and has earned a secure place in the KSUMB’s history and traditions,” the K-State band website states.
Kaitlyn Alanis: @kaitlynalanis