In a surprise turnabout, the University of Maryland's marching band will not be with the school's football team at the Sun Bowl on Saturday, and several band members say they are upset about the change in plans.
Band member Tami Wodiska, 18, said, "When we found out we were going to the Sun Bowl, we were all sort of psyched out. It's really a disappointment."
The announcement came a week ago, she said.
Dick Dull, the university's athletic department director, said an unexpected increase in charter flight costs is the reason that the 225-member band and its pompon squad will stay behind.
The Maryland Terrapins, ranked 11th in the nation by the latest United Press International poll, are scheduled to leave today for El Paso with the school's 15-member cheerleading squad. The Terps will face Tennessee Saturday.
Late last month, the athletic department and the chancellor's office had agreed to share the $51,000 cost to charter a plane for the band, Dull said.
But because the entire band would not be able to fit on one plane, an additional $12,000 was needed to reserve seats on a second plane for about 40 band members, Dull said.
The Terrapin Club, an alumni group, was immediately contacted to try to raise part of the $12,000, Dull said, with the athletic department agreeing to pay the balance. But while the group was seeking donations, the cost of chartering the planes rose by several thousand dollars.
The increase was more than the university or the Terrapin Club could expect to raise on time, Dull said, and plans to send the band were called off.
"We're all distressed about it, but everything that could have been done has been done," said Richmond Sparks, the band's associate director. "It was just a sequence of events that came together that didn't make it happen."