Christopher Smith

Utah Could Change Fight Song Lyrics

Created on Apr. 24, 2014 2:42 PM EST

It's not on par with the dialogue about the Washington Redskins name or whether Clemson's football program is too publicly religious, but Utah is considering changing the lyrics to its fight song.

The Utes' student government voted Tuesday to "strongly encourage" the institution to change the song, which currently includes the phrase "our coeds are the fairest" along with multiple references to men. The song, written in 1904, closes with "... for a Utah man am I."

The Salt Lake City Tribune and Deseret News have plenty of quotes from student government representatives, most of whom are in favor of changing the lyrics. One called the words "oppressive" and another, a female, said she felt the song was sexist and didn't represent her. One student even suggested the lyrics were racist.

According to the Deseret News, the student government suggested replacing "Utah man" with "Utah fan" and "our coeds are the fairest" with "our students are the brightest."

This isn't the first organized push to change the lyrics, but the song has endured. According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the song's creators formed it from "Solomon Levi," an old folk song in itself known as politically incorrect.

The song's words can be construed as sexist. There's no arguing that. Perhaps it was inevitable, as the gap between acceptable and unacceptable rhetoric continues to widen, that the song would come under fire. But perhaps it's telling that we as football fans spend so much time arguing and discussing seemingly trivial linguistics that have been in place for many decades.

If Utah's student government studied the fight songs of every college football team in the country, how many of them would necessitate changes?

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