January 16, 2006

LEWISBURG, Pa. - College basketball fans know the story. Bucknell heads to the 2005 NCAA Tournament and finds that the school's pep band is on spring break and can't be gathered in time for the game.

Quick negotiations are held in Oklahoma City's Ford Center and the University of Northern Iowa's Basketball Pep Band offers to help cheer on the Bison to what becomes an upset win over Kansas in the tournament's first round. It is Bucknell's first NCAA win in school history and Northern Iowa's Basketball Pep Band members, decked out in Bison orange T-shirts shipped in for the occasion, cheerfully played Bucknell's school song and adopted the Bison and fans as their own.

"It was a moment of true graciousness," said Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell. "Bucknell will always remember how Northern Iowa responded in our moment of need."

Now, fast forward to ESPN's BracketBusters in which No. 24 Bucknell and Northern Iowa find themselves paired as mid-major adversaries on the basketball court.

What to do?

First, Bucknell is sending its own 26-member pep band to the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the Saturday, Feb. 18, noon (E) game that will be carried on ESPN2.

Second, Bucknell's pep band is preparing a "surprise" for the UNI Dome home crowd. The sheet music for Northern Iowa's fight song was faxed to the Bucknell pep band and, in the days leading up to the Bucknell-Northern Iowa game, the band has been practicing the UNI Fight Song, which they are scheduled to play at halftime at Saturday's game.

"As a tribute to Northern Iowa's gracious offering last year, we'll play UNI's fight song loud and proud," said Mitchell. "One good deed is returned."

Story posted Feb. 16, 2006

The Bucknell pep band in recent action.

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