The official lyrics to the Gary Glitter sports anthem "Rock and Roll, Pt. 2" read, "Ba na na na na . . . Hey! Ba na na." But because University of Maryland fans had taken to replacing those sounds with a derogatory chant at opposing teams, the tune will no longer be played at men's basketball games.
The move, determined by the school's Student Sportsmanship Committee and Coach Gary Williams, is the latest step to bring more civility to Terrapins athletic events. School officials received a slew of complaints, and loads of negative publicity, after fans chanted vulgarities during a game against Duke last season. In March, the state attorney general's office determined that the school could take measures to limit offensive speech at sporting events.
"You have a situation where you have an age dichotomy at these games," Williams said yesterday. "Some of the older people don't like it. They bring their kids to the games, and it's as simple as that."
Last month, while the basketball team was away on an exhibition tour of Italy, the sportsmanship group worked with football coach Ralph Friedgen to eliminate the song at Byrd Stadium. But the pep band and student cheering section have far more of an impact at Comcast Center, where the students ring the floor.
"I'm banking on the fact that our students are going to be very creative to help us win games," Williams said.
Lauren Spates, a junior who chairs the Student Sportsmanship Committee, said the group is running a full-page ad in the student newspaper Monday, soliciting new chants. They will print a newspaper -- "The Garyland Gazette" -- that will be placed on students' seats at games, meant to keep alive the tradition of hiding behind the newspapers when opposing teams are introduced.
"We're not trying to spoon-feed [chants] to the students," Spates said. "Coach Williams mentioned that college basketball is spontaneous. He wants that to carry over to the fan base. We're hoping the paper will give them good ideas."
In other news, last night Williams joined former Redskins great Darrell Green and Wizards owner Abe Pollin as part of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance's inaugural class in the group's Greater Washington Hall of Champions. The trio were honored for contributions to the sports community in the Washington area.
-- Barry Svrluga