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[ Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2001 ]

Pitt removes 'Penn State sucks' cheer from repetoire

For The Collegian

When the Pittsburgh Panthers score this year, something will be missing from the celebration in the stands.

File photo
University of Pittsburgh fans celebrate at a past Penn State-Pittsburgh match-up.

The University of Pittsburgh's football squad has opened up the season with a disappointing 1-4 record , and since the fans are not allowed to stand during games in the newly built Heinz Field or participate in certain chants, this season may be one to remember for all the wrong reasons. But that's not all Pittsburgh fans have to be sore about.

Whenever the Panthers score a touchdown, the Pittsburgh Marching Band will erupt in the "Pitt Victory Song." At the end of the song fans are to chant, "Fight Pitt fight! Fight Pitt fight! V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!" However, in the spirit of the great rivalry between Pittsburgh and Penn State, some students chant "Penn State sucks! Penn State sucks! P-E-N-N-S-T sucks!" Beginning this season, Pittsburgh Athletic Director Steve Pederson decided to cut the last verse of the song during which some Panthers fans would chant the alternate version.

Penn State similarly tried to restrain their fans from negative cheering last season, but the proscription was only met with more intense booing by fans at Beaver Stadium. Conversely, Pittsburgh's edict has been generally accepted by students, noted one Pittsburgh undergrad.

"At the games I've noticed it has virtually gone away. There are a few radicals who still will shout it out looking like fools because nobody else is joining with them," said Pittsburgh sophomore Tim Murphy. "We said it because they (Penn State) were good, but now they do suck so we don't do it anymore."

"We did receive, over the last few years, a number of complaints," said E.J. Borghetti, the media relations director for Pittsburgh's athletic department. "Entirely from Pitt fans, about what was really just a rude chant coming out of the stands."

The university hopes that by standing out against the chant now, it will become obsolete in the near future and the fight song can be restored to its original state.

"Now that this action has been taken, I would speculate that within a few years it will fall by the wayside, fade from memory and maybe that one stanza within the fight song can be added at some point," said Borghetti.

There are mixed views, however, about the cheer. Some students consider it more of a ritual than just a rude chant. An editorial appearing in The Pitt News said, "It's not a nice chant, but it's still our chant. Every school says, 'Let's go--insert school!' But only we say, 'Penn State sucks' as part of our fight song."

The cheer's banishment may prove to be the most convincing evidence of the end to an already fizzled rivalry between the Nittany Lions and the Panthers.

"Unfortunately, last year was the last regularly scheduled meeting. Hopefully that is something that can get going again," said Borghetti. "It's good for the schools, it's good for the state, it's good for eastern football, and it's good, frankly, for college football as a whole."


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Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2001  11:16:33 PM  -4
Requested: Sunday, June 07, 2009  5:26:27 AM  -4
Created: Wednesday, May 07, 2008  6:35:09 PM  -4