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Narduzzi trolls Pitt fans on Twitter before VT game

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Football Head Coach Pat Narduzzi retracted his

Football Head Coach Pat Narduzzi retracted his "permission slip" that excused students from Thursday night classes for the Virginia Tech game. Heather Tennant | Staff Photographer

Football Head Coach Pat Narduzzi retracted his "permission slip" that excused students from Thursday night classes for the Virginia Tech game. Heather Tennant | Staff Photographer

By Ashwini Sivaganesh | Assistant Sports Editor

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What if Pat Narduzzi, head coach of Pitt’s football team, wrote you a pass to get out of class Thursday night so you could watch the Panthers take on Virginia Tech at Heinz Field?

Well, he did. Kind of.

At about noon Tuesday, Narduzzi tweeted out a permission slip — as a joke, he later said — for students to use to get out of Thursday night class to attend the game. By Tuesday evening, though, he retracted the post realizing students might actually take him seriously.

The permission slip read:

“To whom it May Concern: Please excuse [fill-in-the-blank] from all classes after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27th. Pitt is one of the world’s top universities but I can assure you that this absence is for an important cause. In front of a national television audience, the Pitt Panthers football team takes on #25 Virginia Tech and we will need the full support of The Panther Pitt behind us. We also would not mind if you take the evening off as well and cheer on the Panthers. Hail to Pitt!”

Narduzzi’s post instantly went viral around campus, gathering over 500 retweets and 700 likes.

The letter appeared to be a response to the Panther Pitt, the football team’s fan section, which tweeted to Pitt’s Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, Athletic Director Scott Barnes and Narduzzi Monday afternoon asking if the University could cancel Thursday night classes so students could attend the football team’s only weeknight game of the season.

Within five minutes of that tweet, Narduzzi retweeted the post stating it was a great idea.

To prove his enthusiasm, Narduzzi followed up the retweet on Tuesday with the permission slip, directing the message at the Panther Pitt saying, “See you on Thursday Night at Heinz Field.” The letter included a Pitt football official logo on top and a signature by Narduzzi at the bottom.

But can students use the permission slip to skip class on Thursday?

Technically, no.

On Tuesday evening, Narduzzi tweeted a statement retracting the permission slip.

“Friendly reminder to the Panther Nation: Just in case you thought my ‘permission slip’ was real, IT’S NOT! We want everyone who can be at Heinz Thursday night to be LOUD and PITT PROUD. You can be our winning edge! But if you’ve got class, take care of business and then get to a TV to root us on! H2P! #BeatVT,” Narduzzi said in the message.

Before Narduzzi tweeted his statement, E.J. Borghetti, executive associate athletic director of media relations for Pitt, confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the permission slip was meant as a joke and would not allow students to skip Thursday night classes.  

He encouraged anyone who can to root the team in Heinz Field, but otherwise go to class as planned and catch the game on T.V. afterwards.

“In the spirit of Twitter, [Narduzzi’s] tongue was firmly planted in [his] cheek,” Borghetti said in an email.

Susan Rogers, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for communications and a spokesperson for Gallagher, also confirmed that the permission slip was meant to be a joke from the beginning.

“Coach loves the game, but he’s also pretty clear about class coming first,” Rogers said in an email.

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Narduzzi trolls Pitt fans on Twitter before VT game