The inaugural Gridiron Bash  -- which originally called for simultaneous concerts across 16 college stadiums nationwide on April 18 -- has been postponed until fall 2008, according to New York-based producer MSL Sports and Entertainment.
The event was moved to a later date because of the NCAA's interpretation of athletes' participation at the concerts.
"The unfortunate misinformation by a school about the role student athletes would play in Gridiron Bash has caused one of the conferences to interpret that student athletes were being used to promote a concert," says Shawn Garrity, president of MSL Sports and Entertainment. "Under no circumstance were they going to be used to promote a concert. Rather, they were gong to be part of a football celebration tied to spring games."
Kelly Clarkson, ZZ Top, Maroon 5, Dwight Yoakam, Counting Crows, Taylor Swift and Montgomery Gentry were among some of the acts scheduled to perform. Organizers were also in discussion with such acts as Good Charlotte, O.A.R. and Fall Out Boy, among others. Artists are aligned with universities based on their ties to that given area, Garrity told Billboard.biz in January.
In addition to concert performances, the events were scheduled to begin with a pep rally, the introduction of the school's team roster, a chat with coaches and an autograph session with past football legend graduates. Participating schools were to include Texas A&M, Kansas State University, University of Tennessee, Rutgers, University of Colorado, West Point (Army), West Virginia University and Penn State.
Garrity says holding the first Gridiron Bash without player participation would be similar to New York City's annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular without the Rockettes. "The players have the same significance as the Rockettes," Garrity says. "To promote the show and not deliver that would have wide-ranging ramifications."
Garrity was expecting to draw between 40,000 and 50,000 people to each concert. "For the size of these stadiums, many of these artists can't draw to that size of a stadium," he explains. "And the players were a big part of the event. Without that side of the draw, our concern was that they'd be performing to effected crowds -- and we don't want that for one of our artists."
Meanwhile, Garrity says MSL Sports and Entertainment is working with the universities to reschedule the event for fall 2008. "We have a whole fall series we've already been working on," he says. "In certain instances, it may be artists that are onboard now and others that might be additional artists."
Ticket refunds will be issued through university box offices and gridironbash.com.