As bowl season gets underway next week, there will be a notable absence. Whether that absence is lamented or celebrated depends entirely on your perspective.

Stanford's marching band, the court jester of the marching world, has been suspended for 18 months following violation of university policies. The band was found responsible for new violations that included alcohol abuse and unauthorized travel, and violating sanctions from a previous Organization Conduct Board ruling. The suspension will keep the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band from appearing in this season's Sun Bowl, and if the terms are not altered, will keep them out of the entire 2017 football season. Perhaps the most damning is the board's statement upon sanctioning that the band's recent violations are “incredibly troubling and indicative of a systemic cultural problem,” and that “[they] do not feel that the current leadership or membership is capable of creating the necessary cultural change”.

I can't help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the Stanford band as we know it.

Stanford has put a transition committee in place that will include a new music director and a new organizational framework. The LSJUMB is student-led by design, and is the last of the scramble bands remaining among Power 5 conferences. They've had a few high profile troubles recently, not the least of which was the last Rose Bowl, and it's possible the administration is fed up. In a statement, the university spokewoman affirmed that “Stanford treasures the band and its irreverence, its scatter-band tradition and the tree and the dollies [...] No one expects those elements to change.” but I think chances are good change is indeed on the horizon.