Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer)
When Alabama had a game with Oklahoma a few years back before Saban and while we still weren't that great, I was impressed by the outstanding class showed by the Sooners. We didn't take our band because of the high cost in doing so, yet when the Tide took the field, the Sooner band played a great rendition of "Yea Alabama."
It was a touching moment for the thousands of Bama fans there. They beat us and after the game, Sooner fans all congratulated our players with a cheer and were incredibly nice to all the fans in Crimson.
I have heard of the extreme class and warmth at Penn State's home as well, and our fans marvel at the good sportsmanship they are shown there.
Yet Alabama likes to end their games with the "Rammer Jammer" yell where the band ignites the crowd to sing, "We just beat the hell out of you! Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer, give 'em hell Alabama."
Otherwise, the Crimson Tide fans have been cited for their tailgate warmth, hospitality, and general sportsmanship, so is it time to leave the "Rammer Jammer" cheer on the sideline?
Some schools, like Virginia Tech, which started a program called "Hokies Respect" in 2003, no longer allows its band to play a song to which students yelled sexually suggestive chants. AD Jim Weaver said the gestures that went along with the cheer caused him to stop the song. The school also sent e-mails to students and season ticketholders promoting good sportsmanship. A 30-second web video on abusive chants tells fans, "Don't be a jerk!" according to a USA Today story.
And Texas implemented a campaign a few years ago called, "Texas Fans Make Us Proud," and tells fans, "Watch your language."
Other schools like Florida have tried and had some success in stopping such things and it's time that all schools who have such traditions, not accept them as tradition, but as a thing whose time came and went.
To play a song like "Rammer Jammer" when you've beat a 30-point underdog, or barely squeaked out a last-second field goal block hardly warrants a chorus of "Rammer Jammer."
I could see it in a rivalry game where there has been a lot of locker room-type trash talk, but to play it so often shows a lack of respect, and reflects badly on the school.
Alabama is a great place for visiting teams to come, tailgate, and enjoy a game. I just wish the fans could show that same class without the "Rammer Jammer" song all the time.