- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A traditional pregame song won’t be played by the Maryland pep band at basketball games this season as part of a student panel’s sweeping attempts to curb profanity.

The Sportsmanship Committee will recommend to university officials not to play “Rock and Roll, Part II” after meeting with Terps basketball coach Gary Williams yesterday. The university recently struck the song from football games after getting coach Ralph Friedgen’s endorsement.

“You can be intense without being profane,” committee chairwoman Lauren Spates said. “We’re not trying to tell students what to say or not say, but the university is not endorsing [the song] anymore.”

The university has agreed to follow the student panel’s recommendations on sportsmanship following an ugly incident last season. Maryland basketball fans delivered a vulgar chant directed at Duke guard J.J. Redick in the final moments of the Blue Devils’ victory at Comcast Center that was heard nationwide on ESPN.

Fallout over the obscenity led university officials to request a ruling on First Amendment freedom of speech by the Maryland attorney general’s office. The school was first encouraged to promote voluntary guidelines before taking legal recourse. Indeed, there are no sanctions should students still sing the song, which includes two modest profanities. Students sang “Rock and Roll, Part II” during two home football victories earlier this season.

“People of different generations react differently to words,” Spates said of a key phrase in the 1972 song.

Williams couldn’t be reached for comment. However, he will open practice shortly before the Terps play Duke at Comcast Center on Feb.12 and speak with students about sportsmanship. Williams told students last season after the Duke debacle that he preferred better fan conduct. There were no further incidents.

The committee also plans to print its own newspaper — “Garyland Gazette” — for fans to shake while pretending to ignore the introductions of opposing players — another tradition. The paper will include proposed new chants. The band is taking requests for new songs, too.

The 4,000-seat student section that rings the court will be renamed “Testudo’s Troops” after the university’s mascot. Last year’s name, “The Red Army,” was quickly abolished after complaints by alumni that it recalled memories of the Soviet Union.

The panel also will offer to swap Terps T-shirts for those with obscenities concerning Duke. Profane signs will be discouraged.

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