I got a call from former State Senator John Brenden in Scobey this morning. He said he saw a story on TV that got him pretty fired up.

The Montana State Bobcats are headed to the national championship football game for the first time since 1984, and the Bobcat Band has been there marching alongside the football team every step of the way.

So why isn't the band already guaranteed a seat at the big dance? Why does the band for the Montana State University football team have to raise money in order to attend the national championship game in Frisco, Texas?

Brenden was referring to a story by the Montana Television Network with this headline: MSU Marching Band needs over $100,000 to get to Frisco, Texas

Here's an excerpt:

Montana State University’s Spirit of the West Marching Band is in need of around $200,000 to make the trip to Frisco, Texas. The College of Arts and Architecture has already raised $75,000, thanks to donations through the Montana State University Alumni Foundation.

Brenden told me that "we're all proud of Bozeman going to the national finals play against NDSU," but...

John Brenden: It just kind of steams me up a little bit. That as far as I'm concerned, these kids that in that band they played it every football game and situation that's been in Bozeman...Now, as far as I'm concerned, the Montana State University and any other university or college that's in that same situation should automatically have to pay for that band to go, because those kids have sacrificed all year long. On top of it's a long way away. They're a good cheering section for it. And I noticed that seems like any sport game that we have to play somewhere they don't have to go out and raise money for themselves to travel. Well, they've got a lot of money. And unfortunately, music departments don't have a lot of money.  And I think President Cruzado, the Board of Regents, the administration over there at MSU should just step up and say we're gonna pay for this. And any money that comes in to help along will go to the music department. And those kids deserve it. The college deserves it.

What do you think? Either way, I think we can all agree that the band definitely deserves to be at the championship game. It certainly makes sense that MSU couldn't have budgeted for nor foreseen an expense like this ahead of time- especially since this is their first national championship appearance since 1984. But should the university have simply stated that the band will be there- period- no questions asked, and then done the fundraising after the fact? Or is it better that they got the alumni buy in ahead of time? Shoot me your thoughts to aaron (at) montanatalks.com

Update- Tracy Ellig with Montana State University sent us the following note explaining why the university has to raise money for the band:

Tracy Ellig: "The trip to Texas is outside the scheduled season and so it is outside the planned-for budget for the year. Even quarterfinal and semifinal games are a big lift for us when our band plays at home. Now we are talking about 160 students going to Texas. I can safely say a Boeing 737 and 100 hotel rooms are not part of what the college or university had built into the annual budget for the band. Since making the announcement, we have seen overwhelming support coming from members of the community, alumni and friends to raise funds for our student musicians to go to Texas. We can’t express our gratitude enough for those willing to help give students this great opportunity to perform and be part of the spirit supporting our football team on the field. MSU is truly on a national stage and thanks to our supporters, nearly 90 percent of our band will hopefully join the team in Frisco to make MSU look its very best!"

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