Arizona State band won't march on to Hawaii Bowl

Updated: December 6, 2006, 10:10 AM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona State's marching band won't accompanying the Sun Devils football team to the Hawaii Bowl.

The bowl does not pay for the marching band's travel expenses, said Steve Hanks, the university's assistant athletic director for revenue.

"Unfortunately, traveling to Hawaii during the holiday season is extremely expensive," Hanks said. "ASU just does not have the discretionary spending to travel 250 people there."

The Sun Devils face Hawaii in the bowl game on Christmas Eve.

Many department personnel and the dance team also will not go to Hawaii.

Only a "skeleton crew" of cheerleaders will attend because it is written into the bowl contract, Hanks said.

Because other bowl games include band performances in their contracts, they pay for band expenses. But as a low-tier bowl, and a relatively new one, the Hawaii Bowl does not.

"Since [the Hawaii Bowl] started, no school has taken its marching band there, so we are not doing anything any other program has not done," Hanks said.

A nearly $400,000 bowl payout and conference shared revenue won't even cover the team's expenses in Hawaii, according to Hanks.

The last time ASU played in Hawaii -- at the Aloha Bowl in 1999 -- the marching band made the trip.

"We practiced on the beach, walking up and down by all the hotels. Every 30 yards, a crowd would gather. They thought it was the greatest thing in the world," said Travis Breedlove, a tenor saxophone player in the ASU band that year. "You're part of the team's support. Heck, as a band member, you're there well before anyone else comes into the stadium … until the final whistle blows and then post-game. [You're] their biggest fans."

Chris Coughlin, a sophomore trumpet player in his second year in the marching band, said he was disappointed by the university's decision, but understood the reasoning behind it.

"I think everybody thought we were going to get to go, at least some of us because all the past bowl games we've gone," he said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press