Yea, unfortunately I was there on the field in '81 when we had our "Day of Infamy". I dont know for sure what happened that day. I for one dont remember hearing alot of stray whistles from the stands as some have reported hearing. My own personal opinion of what happened (and this is based on watching a replay of the disaster on the video "Recall, The Story of the Fightin Texas Aggie Band") is that someone on the Bugle Rank, for whatever reason, missed an assignment and then everything went to hell from there.
I also heard (dont know if its true or not) that some of the Bugle Rank members partied down pretty hard the night before the Rice game, and the after-affects may have hindered someone's judgement. I remember seeing a couple of the Bugle Rank guys in the parking lot before the game and they didnt look so hot, but as you probably know, partying hardy before a game has never been unusual in the long history of the Aggie Band, esp. for upperclassmen at away games :). So I dont think this was the root cause. I wish I knew what really happened, maybe if you find out from someone you can let me know.
Gary Merka, B-Co '82