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Band director clarifies away game budget confusion

Amanda Michaels | Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Though miscommunication led some members of the Band of the Fighting Irish to fear that a $36,000 funding shortage would jeopardize their trip to the University of Tennessee away game, Father Mark Poorman, vice president for student affairs, said Tuesday that the University will make sure the band will be in attendance regardless of financial concerns.

Contrary to popular belief, Poorman said that a budget cut was not at the root of the band’s dilemma. Rather, band director Ken Dye chose to funnel the $30,000 allotment usually used to support two trips to regional away games – like Purdue or Michigan – toward a two-day trip to the University of Tennessee, which has an estimated cost of $66,000, Poorman said.

“Somehow misinformation came about that said [the fund shortage] is the function of a travel budget cut, but they always have to make up money for extraordinary expenses,” Poorman said. “The trip the band planned is important but expensive, and when they decided they wanted to go to Tennessee, they knew they would have to raise extra money.”

In a letter to the editor published in Friday’s Observer, Dye cited “the visibility and importance of the Tennessee game” as reasons for spending the whole travel budget in one place.

Dye clarified the situation for band members during a break in Tuesday night’s practice.

“I want to make sure you all know that wasn’t a specific budget cut to the band that caused this,” Dye said. “The trip is not cheap – we’re going overnight, and we want to do it right, as in not going on school buses or eating at the Waffle House – so even if you put all our resources together, it still comes up somewhat short.”

To make up for the shortage, Dye said the organization will follow its traditional fundraising steps, including the sale of merchandise on the band’s Web site.

Dye emphasized, however, that band members and their families are not required to donate or fundraise.

In the event that the campaign does not raise enough money to fund the trip, Poorman and David Moss, assistant vice president of Student Affairs, have guaranteed that their office will make up the difference.

“Our hope is that the band will be able to find additional money in the budget somewhere, but I guess the bottom line is that the trip was never in jeopardy,” Moss said. “Between [the band’s fundraising] and what we can do here in Student Affairs, we have complete confidence that that band will be in Tennessee.”

Dye passed these assurances on to the band.

“There’s always been a plan in place so we could get down there for the fans and the team,” Dye said. “We still have to fundraise, it’s true, but not to the same extent that many of you perceived.”

Band members like social co-chair Nicole Thaner reacted favorably to the administration’s efforts to eliminate confusion.

“I’m glad the University and Dr. Dye took the time to clarify things to the students and we’re happy to work with them for our fundraising for the trip,” she said.