Guidelines for Band Performing at Regular Season Football Contests

 NOTE: Please consult with your local or state health department and school administration regarding the current restrictions/allowances relative to allowable group size and social distancing recommendations.


    The participation of bands at a school football contest is an exciting aspect of the event.  The band contributes to the event by increasing the level of excitement to the contest.  In order to maintain a proper perspective and to insure equity in competition for the participating teams, certain guidelines indicating when to play must be followed.  Band directors are reminded that as a courtesy to the teams and sideline cheerleaders, the performances by the band should be limited to a certain schedule.  The guidelines listed below include an appropriate playing schedule for the band.

The band may play:

  • before the game begins;
  • during time-outs, except injury time-outs;
  • after a touchdown, field goal, extra point or safety (however, the band must stop playing when the official blows the 'ready for play' whistle to start the next play);
  • between quarters;
  • at halftime of the contest;
  • at the end of the contest.

     Any band that plays or continues to produce sound on instruments can be considered an 'unfair act' under NFHS Football Rule 9-9-1 and could result in a 15-yard penalty being assessed to the head football coach of the offending school for unsportsmanlike conduct.  

    When bands want to warm-up prior to half-time, directors should arrange this so that it is done in an area that is not a distraction to the contest.  NOTE:  No whistles may be used while the game is in progress.

    Halftime is 15 minutes in length unless the host school determines otherwise.  The band may take the field as soon as the teams have cleared the field.  The band should be off the field when there is 3 minutes remaining on the clock.  The host school should notify the opposing school administration if haltime is being extended past 15 minutes.  The football teams should not enter the field until the band is finished and off the field.

     Because the band acts as a spirit group, members should always act in a positive manner and must not do anything to distract or negatively affect the opposing team.  It is the director’s responsibility to prevent his/her band from playing at inappropriate times, playing inappropriate music, or taunting the opposing team and/or contest officials.  The band must display courtesy and respect toward the players, cheerleaders, and fans.  To do anything else is not only a distraction from the contest but also reflects negatively on the band, the director, and the school.  Support your school and team in a positive manner.