This past weekend, one of the University of Alabama’s best known traditions was brought back to life after it was nixed a few years ago following the 2014 Iron Bowl against Auburn University. “Dixieland Delight” by the band Alabama was played once again during the fourth quarter while students and fans sang along. The tradition was stopped after inappropriate language was hurled repeatedly throughout the song from the student section that wasn’t appealing to every Alabama fan in the stadium. However, this created another problem. Students were leaving football games before halftime, or simply not attending at all. Something as simple as a song caused such a rift in the Crimson Tide community.
Every university has its own unique traditions, like the University of Iowa wave, the Oklahoma Sooner Schooner, the Smurf Turf at Boise State or rolling Toomer’s Corner after an Auburn victory (much to my chi-grin). What would happen if all of these traditions were taken from fans and students who invest wholeheartedly into these teams?
Businesses and brands must understand why customers invest in them. Taking away one of the sole reasons that people use services or purchase products will result in the loss of many loyal customers.
A few weeks ago, Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, voiced his disappointment of poor showmanship from students at games. As a result, Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne, with the help of Nick Saban’s wife Terry Saban, running back Damien Harris and Student Government Association President Price McGiffert, made the announcement that Dixieland Delight would be making a comeback for this past weekend’s game against Missouri. Byrne’s one rule was that everyone had to keep the song classy, or it would be nixed once again.
As a snowball effect, the stadium, and specifically the student section, remained loud, crowded and proud. Students followed rules, and the song will be played during the fourth quarter of the next home game.
The point of tradition isn’t the song or the color of a field itself, but rather the feeling of being a part of a community. Messages can be misconstrued, but businesses and brands should always find a way to alter something that fixes the problem and reaches a goal that pleases all kinds of customers.