Staff Editorial: Where’s the band? Duquesne MBB misses out on school pride

We’re bringing the Staff Ed back online. Every week, our editorial staff discusses a current topic that is relevant to the university community. 

Editorial Staff

The heartwarming story of the high-school band that stepped up to play for Duquesne in March Madness may have tugged at your heart strings, but it begs one massive question: Where was Duquesne’s?

Of the eight schools to play in Omaha, Duquesne was the only one not to bring its own band. Not only that, but it was one of just three schools not to bring its official mascot. On the biggest stage the athletic program has ever seen, Duquesne was without two of the largest sources of school representation and spirit.

The beauty of college sports is in the culture that they demonstrate on and off the court. In Omaha, Iowa State players walked to the team bus through a crowd of screaming fans as they were serenaded by a line of trumpets and cheerleaders. Drake University’s mascot, a bulldog, crouched like a canine behind the cheerleaders when they weren’t hyping up the traveling fans.

Duquesne had a large section of passionate and screaming fans travel on their own, but as far as school personnel, it was just the basketball program and administration.

The fans noticed the missing pieces.

Said one fan on X, formerly twitter: “Did our mascot have a hot date that night? Put the suit on a flight – I will do the job!”

“Embarrassing how much the pep band has fallen apart since i was in school,” one alum tweeted. “Plus duquesne probably wouldve cheaped out from sending the pre-pandemic sized bands to brooklyn or omaha anyway.”

This isn’t meant to disrespect the Duquesne Pep Band and its leaders. The group died out during Covid-19 and the process of reviving it began this year. Those who showed up and played in Cooper Fieldhouse were instrumental (no pun intended) in creating an atmosphere that makes fans and players want to come back.

However, as March demonstrated, this isn’t happening fast enough. There are 350 students enrolled in Duquesne’s excellent school of music, yet there is not enough interested to form a band large enough to travel the country and play in 18,000-seat arenas.

Duquesne’s basketball teams are on the rise. If the school wants to build a culture befitting the talent we see on the court, more resources and attention need to be devoted to hyping it up.