Of all the changes going down at Penn State University this year, here is one that few people may have thought about. Penn State fans have been singing the Neil Diamond song “Sweet Caroline” for years at every home game, but they will no longer. The song has now been banned and will not be a part of the in-game festivities.
Nittany Lions fans would sing along with the lyrics to Diamond’s hit song, which originally was a tradition popularized at Boston’s Fenway Park. Fans typically yell out the “ba-ba-baaaa” and “so good” lyrics as the song was being played over the loudspeakers, but the school has announced it will no longer play the 1969 classic during the games.
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, university officials decided that it was inappropriate and insensitive to play the song, which was written about then 11-year old Caroline Kennedy and contains lyrics like “touching me, touching you.” I’d have to agree that having 100,000 Penn State fans on television chanting along with such lyrics would have been a bad idea.
“The thing our fans have come to expect is a great gameday experience,” said Greg Myford, who is Penn State’s associate athletic director for business relations and communications. “On a national level, we know we are very highly regarded for the Penn State gameday experience. We are not making any wholesale changes to that.”
Other changes are also being made for Penn State this season, including putting players’ names on the back of their jerseys for the first time in the history of the program.
Sandusky, 68, was the former longtime Penn State defensive coordinator who was convicted in June of 48 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.