Before every USC football game that features a pregame performance by the Trojans marching band, the drum major for the band executes the following ritual shown in the first 15 seconds of this video:
Except the drum major won't be doing that this Saturday before No. 21 USC's showdown with No. 17 UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Why? Apparently, the UCLA athletic department has made a request to the band that the drum major not 'stab' its logo. The Trojans marching band released this statement on Tuesday:
In the spirit of cooperation and sportsmanship and at the request of the UCLA Athletic Department, the USC Trojan Marching Band drum major will not stab the field before the game Saturday.
It was decided by Trojan Marching Band Director Dr. Arthur C. Bartner after meeting with UCLA game management that it was in the best interest of both universities to suspend this tradition at this game.
“It is important to protect a great rivalry and to conduct it in the most mutually respectful way possible,” said Dr. Bartner.
The decision comes after a grass roots movement by some UCLA fans to protest the USC tradition after a Pac-12 promotional video from before last season showed the UCLA logo being stabbed by the drum major before a game. Trojans blogs and message boards have responded with disdain, making the run up to this year's rivalry more chippy than usual. From the blog Lost Angeles:
You are just a bunch of whining children who don't understand the concept that we aren't stabbing your logo, we stab the fifty yard line. At Notre Dame, there's no logo to stab. At home, we stab the field as well. Maybe question the fact you graffiti your field 200 gallons of baby blue paint. Maybe leave us some green to stab.
Rumors also abounded that the band would not be allowed to play its rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" since USC fans chant a pejorative at UCLA during the chorus, but the Trojans marching band Twitter account squelched that late on Tuesday:
To dispel any rumors, we have not been asked to not play "Tusk!"
The band Twitter account also re-tweeted that if the band did perform its normal pregame ritual on Saturday, UCLA would likely not allow it back at the Rose Bowl in 2014.
UCLA has lost 12 of its last 13 meeting with USC and trails the overall series 44-28-7. The winner of Saturday's game will represent the Pac-12 South in the conference title game on Dec. 1.