UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State's decision not to include "Sweet Caroline" in its package of musical selections at Beaver Stadium this season blew up over the Internet after a Mirror story was published on Monday.
If you missed it, the story, written by staff writer Walt Frank and freelance writer Steve Sampsell, reported some PSU officials were concerned about the song's lyrics in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and all of its fallout.
Greg Myford, PSU associate athletic director for business relations and communications, quickly issued a clarification, saying "no changes to the playlist were made based on lyrics."
Myford said "Sweet Caroline" has been brought up in recent years as a candidate to be replaced because it is played in many other collegiate and professional venues "and has no real origination at Penn State."
Myford's position aside, it's hard to believe the words "touching me, touching you" in the popular Neil Diamond hit weren't a factor. Otherwise, why worry about it? Or even comment on it? Had "Sweet Caroline" remained, criticism of it would have been minimal.
Then again, in Penn State's new world of not being able to do anything right in the eyes of its most vocal critics, it's understandable why someone in the administration may get nervous.
The decision shouldn't be the end of the world, or even draw this much attention, except that every time Penn State burps, national networks break in.
So rather than underreact like it did to Sandusky's presence in the campus showers with kids, Penn State is now overreacting.
But at least it's reacting.
Let's hope Penn State doesn't see the need to change the word "touchdown" or, even worse, "touchback."
Though it was enjoyable to hear "Sweet Caroline," and an unfortunate highlight when the PSU offense wasn't moving, fans should be able to adjust.
They signed up for a football game, not a concert. With Beaver Stadium's sound system, along with 100,000-plus fans, almost any song short of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," will be fine.
That said, Penn State should be selective.
I recall a couple of games with Miami in 1991-92. The Nittany Lions had trouble coping with the deafening music at the Orange Bowl and wound up losing a great game, 26-20. Joe Paterno's response for the return trip here was to install huge speakers in the South end zone, pumping in loud music (not opera, either) throughout the game.
Though Miami coach Dennis Erickson scrapped audibles and said, "I couldn't hear myself think," the Hurricanes won, 17-14.
And most of the PSU faithful left complaining as much about the noise as the outcome.