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Where no marching band has gone before?
Michael Hausam/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I had the privilege on Saturday of watching the Grambling State marching band perform at half time, as the football team was wiped into oblivion by the California Golden Bears.

The Grambling marchers were such a rumbling, roaring, swaying, getting-it-on-down, funky band of brilliance that they got a huge ovation from the home fans.

This is something that somewhat eluded their Kansas State equivalent. Kansas State’s band had decided to present a marching battle between the Starship Enterprise and a monster that looked not unlike the mascot of their rival Kansas Jayhawks.

Formation choreography can require precise movements and very clear eyes. As Yahoo Sports reports, this attempt at a musical depiction of “Star Trek”-style space warfare inspired some stiff expressions of reprimand.

To some observers, the Enterprise looked a little more like a male genitalia heading straight for the Jayhawk’s mouth.

So much so that the Kansas State Marching Band employed the world’s largest megaphone — Twitter — to offer its apology. “We apologize for anyone offended by our half time performance depicting the starship enterprise and the Jayhawk mascot,” its tweet read. (Apologize for, note. Not apologize to.)

Moreover, the Twitter feed offered a link to a Facebook explanation by the director of the marching band, Frank Tracz.

He showed a graphic chart depicting the movements of the Jayhawk and the starship. He added: “The chart below represents the drill from tonight’s show. There was absolutely no intent to display anything other than the Enterprise and the Jayhawk in battle. If I am guilty of anything it would be the inability to teach the drill in a manner that these young people could have succeeded. I do apologize for the misinterpretation and I assure you that I meant absolutely no disrespect or malice toward the University of Kansas.”

Please view his chart and decide whether the excessively prim are reading too much into a routine that, to some eyes, clearly shows the whole of the Starship Enterprise flying toward the Jayhawk monster’s mouth. Yes, the front end is long and thin. But people, really.

At the end of last year, the band received the Studler Trophy, given to the top college marching band in the US. I’m sorry, that should have read “the Sudler Trophy.”

However, on Facebook opinions are deeply divided (and, I suspect, deeply biased) as to whether Kansas State had smutty intentions in this poke at its biggest rival.

Even the university’s president, Captain Kirk H. Schultz — wait, he isn’t actually a captain — took to Twitter to add his bowed head. “I am sorry if anyone was offended by the performance at half-time,” he wrote.

Some might be wondering, “What’s the matter with Kansas?”

I am wondering how long it will be before this controversy blows over.

“The chart below represents the drill from tonight’s show. There was absolutely no intent to display anything other…

Posted by K-State Marching Band on Saturday, September 5, 2015

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College band performs 'Star Trek,' ends up in phallic controversy