The Altoona Mirror first reported the decision Monday, buried deep in an article about all the changes taking place at the start of the post-Joe Paterno, post-Jerry Sandusky scandal era for the Nittany Lions. In addition to a new head coach and the addition of the players' last names to the backs of jerseys, the deletion of everyone's favorite sing-along song was mentioned as well.
Initially, the article stated that the decision was made due to concerns Penn State officials had over such lyrics as "touching me, touching you" in light of the Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. But the university says that is not the case.
“Absolutely no song changes were made based on lyrics,” university spokesman David La Torre said. “This song has come up on the list in recent years because it happens to be played in so many other professional and collegiate venues and has no real origination here at Penn State.”
He's right that "Sweet Caroline" is wildly popular pretty much everywhere you can find large gatherings of people who may or may not have consumed large quantities of alcohol at some point during the day. It's a big deal in particular for fans of the Boston Red Sox and, perhaps more importantly, the Nittany Lions' cross-state rival, the Pitt Panthers.
Plus, it would be tough to eliminate the use of the word "touch" at football games. What would they call it when a team crossed the goal line? Or when someone was being extra sensitive about something as minor as a song being played over the loudspeaker?
(People really can be pretty touchy about the songs played at games. Years ago when I was covering high school baseball Back East, one school banned "Another One Bites the Dust" for being too violent.)
It will interesting to hear what song will be added in place of "Sweet Caroline." Since they're apparently looking for something obscure, there's this great Journey song that encourages the listener to never stop believin'.
Whatever it is, though, it probably just won't be the same for the Penn State faithful The video posted above is just for you guys — crank it up loud, sing along and make it sound "so good, so good, so good."