The University of Texas won't join the Southeastern Conference for another couple of seasons, so for now it still adheres to Big 12 policies — such as where it can seat representatives of visiting teams in its home football venue.
Whereas the SEC provides visiting fans with seats spread between lower and upper levels, the Big 12 makes no such provisions, and Texas intends to stick visitors from Alabama in nosebleed sections for Saturday's game between the two schools. All 5,000 tickets allotted for Crimson Tide fans are in the upper deck.
As such, the Alabama's Million Dollar Band will not be making the trip to Austin.
“Due to the seating location and configuration of the visiting institution’s ticket allotment at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the Million Dollar Band will not make the trip this weekend for the Alabama at Texas football game,” the Alabama athletic department said in a statement to AL.com.
The Million Dollar Band traditionally travels to every road game, whether it’s the full or abbreviated version to fit seating allotments at SEC stadiums. This is the first true non-conference game played in an opposing stadium since the 2011 game at Penn State. A small group of Million Dollar Band members made that trip to State College.
In terms of frustration at the hands of Texas, Alabama is not alone. For a 2019 trip to Austin, the Louisiana State University band was tucked away in the upper deck, a move that led LSU to say they’d force Texas to do the same when the Longhorns visited Baton Rouge the following year. That game was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The contract Alabama signed with Texas in 2018 included vague instructions regarding the marching band seating location: “The Visiting Institution band seats, if needed, must come from the Visiting Institution’s ticket allotment. The Host Institution will provide information regarding the standard location of the seats for a Visiting Institution’s band members."
Alabama was set to receive 500 complimentary tickets and request up to 4,500 additional tickets to be sold on consignment, AL.com reported.