As the Purdue football team and marching band make their way to Notre Dame this weekend for their Saturday afternoon matchup, one special member of the Boilermakers’ team will be absent: the band’s 100-year-old Big Bass Drum.
This will be the first time since 1979 that the drum hasn’t accompanied the band for a performance.
MORE: College football picks, predictions for Week 3
Purdue last played at Notre Dame in 2012, but since then, Notre Dame has stopped allowing visiting bands to use the main entrance to Notre Dame Stadium. So why can’t Purdue just bring the drum through the recently created visitors’ entrance? Well, the drum is the “Largest Drum in the World” at 7 feet, 3 inches in diameter and 3 feet, 9 inches wide. That’s too big for the entrance.
Forget the press boxes and the new seating — the tiny, cramped, uncomfortable visitors’ tunnel is easily the best part of the recent Notre Stadium renovations. Instead of charging out of the main tunnel, opponents have to shuffle gingerly out of this architectural masterpiece.☘️ https://t.co/VzCuHzJYWP pic.twitter.com/841iF5wV35
— Fr. Mike Palmer, CSC (@mppcsc) September 16, 2021
Another issue is that Notre Dame doesn’t allow field access anymore to visiting bands other than for halftime performances, so Purdue can’t do its typical run through the field before the game.
MORE: College Football Playoff Picture for Week 3
Purdue’s marching band appeared upset about the decision on Twitter. It was especially difficult for the band since this is the drum’s 100th anniversary year and the team and fans have been used to hearing it for generations.
Other Twitter critics wondered why Notre Dame would be this picky about having a drum on its field, especially because it’s such a well-known Purdue tradition. Others questioned if there could be another way to make the drum fit through a tunnel, or even if it could get dropped off by a helicopter (this option seems less likely).
You would think an engineer or two would figure out how to get it within stadium. Maybe a helicopter?
— mike kerry (@BadgerMike) September 16, 2021
MORE: Full TV schedule for 2021 Notre Dame games on NBC, Peacock
With or without the drum, unranked Purdue is a seven-point underdog to the No. 12-ranked Irish heading into the first matchup between the two Indiana teams since 2014. One thing is for certain: The stadium will be a lot quieter than usual before the game, even with fans back in the stands.