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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Diplomacy Edict for Stanford Band

March 22, 2001|CHRIS FOSTER

There will be no Grad Night celebration at the NCAA West Regional today, when Stanford faces Cincinnati's diploma-challenged basketball program.

The Stanford band, notorious for its outrageous pranks, has been ordered not to wear graduation gowns mocking the woeful graduation rate of the Cincinnati basketball program, a band spokesman said Wednesday.

"We got word from our athletic department that the NCAA has ordered us not to wear graduation gowns," said Aram Cretan, a sophomore trumpet player.

The Bearcats' graduation rate was 0% in 2000, 33% in 1999, 0% in 1998, 0% in 1997 and 0% in 1996, according to NCAA records.

Stanford officials were unable to say who gave the edict to the band. NCAA officials sifted through their hefty bureaucracy, but could neither confirm nor deny the order. And Cincinnati sports information director Tim Hathaway said he wasn't aware of "anyone from Cincinnati making that request."

Cretan said graduation gowns were considered not to needle Cincinnati basketball players, but to honor three Stanford seniors, Jarron Collins, Ryan Mendez and Michael McDonald.

"We kicked around the idea of wearing the gowns for a quite a while," Cretan said. "It seemed like a nice thing to do."

In a similar vein, the band "honored" the potato during a halftime of a football game against Notre Dame in 1997, which many felt mocked the Irish potato famine. The band was banned from performing the following year in South Bend.

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