According to a report by the Altoona Mirror on Monday, Penn State decided that Beaver Stadium music staple "Sweet Caroline" would be discontinued for the 2012 season as part of a series of minor changes to the game-day experience.
Initially, reports had suggested that Penn State officials were ditching the song because of a couple of the sing-alongs, namely "touching me...touching you," which takes on an unfortunate second meaning in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.
That did not go over well with Penn State fans.
But according to a later clarification by the Altoona Mirror, Penn State isn't objecting to the song itself—it's just not something the school felt like keeping:
According to Greg Myford, PSU associate athletic director for business relations and communications, no song changes to the Beaver Stadium playlist this year have been made based on lyrics. Myford said "Sweet Caroline" has been brought up at other times in recent years because it is played in many other collegiate and professional venues and "has no real origination at Penn State."
While wholesale changes to what happens on game day are not in store, Myford said some "updating" will occur, and "'Sweet Caroline' was one of the songs we decided to switch out." Myford added, "That happens each year for both recorded music and the Blue Band."
Now, look. Penn State would owe its fans an explanation on this decision under one of two circumstances: if it's a bona fide Penn State tradition, or if it's a really, really good song. Neither is the case here.
As Myford mentions, this isn't Penn State's song any more than it's the Red Sox's or the Pitt Panthers'. It's just an old song that college kids like to sing ironically, and there's absolutely no shortage of that in pop culture these days.
Let's not act like you don't know at least half the lyrics to "Livin' on a Prayer," folks.
Moreover, it's done. It's played out. Old and busted. You don't want to be old and busted, do you, Penn State fans? Of course not.
With that in mind, here's the deal: We're not fun haters here at the Big Ten Blog. We don't want students and other fans to act more dignified and stodgy; that's what Jim Delany is there for.
We want to help keep that "Sweet Caroline" vibe around, but have it be newer, fresher and more along the lines of being Penn State's own.
And wouldn't you know it? There is a song that we know Penn State fans enjoy and can sing along to, and that not everybody else in the world is playing at their stadiums. You want a new musical tradition? PSU's way ahead of the curve on this one. I believe we have footage already, as a matter of fact.
Okay, the Confederate flag flying in the background we can do without, but other than that, it's all yours, PSU. And you're welcome.
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