SWAC Band Rules - Football Contest

Ocean Fans! Many have questions about how the "game has changed" concerning when the band plays at games. Ultimately, we are subject to the referees at the games. Some allow us to "bring the band down." Others demand that we cease playing entirely, including any individual sections. Once, an official actually yelled at us from the field when we played during a kickoff. We do our best to fulfill our purposes for being at the games but we must follow the rules as they are handed down. That said, please read the policy below as it was communicated to us by SWAC officials.

Band Playing in the Game

Southwestern Athletic Conference Bands

Administrative Procedures for Bands

The Rules state: Persons subject to the rules, including bands, shall not create any sound that prohibits a team from hearing signals.


A. Once the offensive team breaks the “Huddle” and approaches the line of scrimmage the band shall cease playing. Bands shall not play music at football games while the ball is played, or while signals are being called by the quarterback. This means that it is not permissible to use either:

  1. Drum roll or beat
  2. Cymbals crashing
  3. Horn sounds, or
  4. Any kind of musical instrument while the ball is in play is underway in football.

B. It is designated that for all Conferences games t he visiting band is allowed to perform during the first dead-ball, team, or official timeout. The home team band will be allowed to play during the next dead-ball, team, or official timeout. From that point on, both the visiting team and home team bands shall alternate playing during breaks in play for the rest of the contest. At no time are both bands allowed to play simultaneously during the game.

  • 1st Timeout Visiting Team Band
  • 2nd Timeout Home Team Band
  • 3rd Timeout Visiting Team Band
  • 4th Timeout Home Team Band
  • 5th Timeout Visiting Team Band
  • 6th Timeout Home Team Band

C. The half-time intermission shall be limited to 20 minutes. The clock will start immediately when both teams and the game officials clear the field.

  • Visiting Team Band shall play first
  • Home Team Band shall play second

D. No penalty flags will be thrown, nor will any team be penalized. The referee will stop play and announce to the fans that he is asking the band to stop playing. This will also signal the public address announcer to make the same request. The game officials will do this twice per team. Any additional violations should be reported to the Coordinator of Football Officials who in turn will advise the Conference office. Bands found to have violated the policies listed above may be subject to the following penalties.

  • 1st Offense - public reprimand and censure;
  • 2nd Offense - public reprimand and suspension from performing during the next contest and/or a fine to be determined by the Commissioner.
  • 3rd Offense - suspension from performing for the remainder of the season.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the SWAC offices at www.swac.org.