Not everyone on campus was initially receptive to the band and the football team it supported. In a May 1972 issue of the Breeze, a student wrote a letter to the editor expressing concern over money being used toward building a football program. This “interested H. &P.E. Major” asks “What will Madison do next?” (“Letters to the Editor Continued”; see featured image) This student believed more students on campus would be receptive to the policies of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation if instead of building a football program, the university used the money elsewhere. Some suggestions this student had were: hiring another health instructor to alleviate crowded lecture halls and fix problems with seniors lacking course requirements because of class shortages; hiring another physical education instructor or two who can teacher a greater variety of courses; using the money to equip Godwin Hall “in the best manner possible for the best use possible–for hiring more student assistants to keep the building open for student and faculty use”; to provide more equipment in activity in theory classes, such as bows, golf clubs, basketballs, volleyballs; and for equipment for the Motor Performance laboratory for research.
Most of these suggestions were geared toward the particular writer’s major (Health and Physical Education), but these suggestions were not unwarranted. In addressing the economics of it all, the student says “Let us fill our educational gaps first before we go headlong into a deficit program” and points out that football programs usually run in the red for the first few years of existence. He or she also questions if Madison College has a real need for football; “it would be ridiculous to expect miracles; yet we will, and will want to go Small College in no time.”
However, most students seemed to enjoy and appreciate the enthusiasm the band brought to the school. Joe Carico, a 1978 graduate, played football for the Dukes. When asked about the relationship between the football team and the band, Carico replied, “The band was always good even when the team wasn’t.” (“Carico”) Joan Ditmore remarks that the band is overlooked in an editorial to The Breeze on November 15, 1977.
Within a year of this editorial, the band was featured in two two-page spreads in back to back weeks, detailing the band’s success with their first pro football performance.
Carico, Joe. 2012. Class Lecture. Harrisonburg, VA. April 9.
“Letters to the Editor Continued.” The Breeze. Friday, May 19, 1972.
Posey, Bill. 2012. Interview by Kayla Payne. Harrisonburg, VA. April 6.