Pitt alters “Sweet Caroline” tradition


Basketball coaches Suzie McConnell-Serio and Kevin Stallings sing “Sweet Caroline” with students during the 2016 season. (Photo by Matt Hawley / Staff Photographer)

By Ryan Zimba / Sports Editor

Ahead of its opening week game against the Youngstown State Penguins next Saturday, the Pitt football program announced Friday its nine-year tradition of singing “Sweet Caroline” at the end of the third quarter has come to an end.

The tradition, which started during Pitt’s 2008 game against the Buffalo Bulls, will still be a part of the game, but in a different capacity. Now, the song will be played at at various times, not specifically between the third and fourth quarters.

“After taking into account feedback from the Pitt Athletics Fan Committee, The Panther Pitt, coaches and players, the song will now be played at different points in the game, targeting specific moments in an effort to capitalize on its unifying effect,” the program said in a press release.

Since its inception, the tradition has been a polarizing topic among the Panthers’ fanbase, with many criticizing it as too common — with teams like the Boston Red Sox starting the tradition well before the Panthers.

This change is just one of many fans will see at Heinz Field this fall, with the Pitt Athletic Department looking to improve the atmosphere at games. Among other changes are improvements in tailgating — thanks to Pitt’s partnership with Tailgate Guys — and a new promotional schedule, which includes a James Conner Bobblehead Night on Oct. 14 against Youngstown State.