At halftime of Baylor-Rice, the Marching Owl Band displayed a "IX" -- as in, Title IX, a reference to BU's sexual assault scandal -- to the visiting section full of Baylor fans. It then turned and formed a star -- as in, disgraced former Baylor president Ken Starr.
Here's a video, with repeated narration about Fozzy the Bear, an adopted band mascot, delivering "unbearable punchlines." The band played "99 Luftbaloons" during its IX segment and "Hit the Road, Jack" for Starr, which included a 1990s-spoofing quote attributed to Starr: "I did not investigate that coach." (He didn't actually say that. That's a reference to Starr's long investigation of President Clinton.)
You can hear grumbling from Baylor fans after that, and also after an old joke of a closing line about "knowledge" starting with an "n" for those who "were educated in Waco."
Sitting on Baylor's side of the field during the first half was former Baylor head coach Art Briles, who was fired amid the university scandal, allegedly with members of his coaching staff interfering in sexual assault investigations.
Rice's MOB is well-known for trolling and pulling stunts and essentially being a parody of a college marching band. If this was meant to be a serious message and not just a prank, the context of the band's own goofy history makes it a really imperfect vehicle.
Baylor fans cheered for Briles tonight. Rice's band made a joke out of Baylor's systemic failure to help sexual assault victims.— Jessica Luther (@scATX) September 17, 2016
Oh hahahahaha choreographed jokes about sexual assault scandals. Get it? What a knee slapper! https://t.co/1VUYq6tZw1— rebkah howard (@pink_funk) September 17, 2016
Making fun of sexual assault violations is now hilarious. Twitter teaches me something new every day. https://t.co/CUXL6CrFlD— Ashley Holcomb (@ashleyxholcomb) September 17, 2016
The university released a statement:
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 went too far.