Archive for Friday, January 6, 2012

Group calls for end to ‘woo’ in Rock Chalk Chant

The Rock Chalk chant is inscribed on a stone bench in the Kansas Union at Kansas University. A group of about 350 has formed to rally against fans shouting "Woo!" at the end of the chant. The anti-woo group has taken a few actions to preserve the chant in its original form. Larry Tenopir, a Topeka attorney, wrote a letter to the University Daily Kansan last semester arguing that the chant stands out because it’s so different from everyone else’s.

The Rock Chalk chant is inscribed on a stone bench in the Kansas Union at Kansas University. A group of about 350 has formed to rally against fans shouting "Woo!" at the end of the chant. The anti-woo group has taken a few actions to preserve the chant in its original form. Larry Tenopir, a Topeka attorney, wrote a letter to the University Daily Kansan last semester arguing that the chant stands out because it’s so different from everyone else’s.

January 6, 2012


A group of Kansas University basketball fans — numbering more than 350 strong on Facebook — have a request.

On the street

Do you think fans should stop the “woo” at the end of the Rock Chalk Chant?

I don’t think it matters.

More responses

They love the Rock Chalk Chant during KU games, but it’s that “woo” they’re not so fond of.

No one involved can pinpoint exactly when the “woo” began popping up after each slow rendition of “Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU.” But a few things seem clear.

The woos started becoming much more noticeable sometime during the last five to six years and seem to be particularly prominent among students.

The Facebook group created in response, “There is no ‘WHOOO’ in the Rock Chalk Chant,” boasted just more than 350 people on Friday.

The anti-woo group has taken a few actions to preserve the chant in its original form. Larry Tenopir, a Topeka attorney, wrote a letter to the University Daily Kansan last semester arguing that the chant stands out because it’s so different from everyone else’s.

“Others bluster and scream,” Tenopir wrote. “The Rock Chalk Chant is slow, eerie, haunting.”

The people who “whoop and holler” during the chant are “destroying” it, he wrote.

In an interview, he said students today probably just don’t know how the chant was done in the past. Tenopir — and others — miss the eerie-sounding nature of the chant the way it was once performed.

There’s a reason, Tenopir said, that troops have used the chant in battle, repeating a bit of lore about the chant.

“It wasn’t because there was whooping,” he said.

Cat Jarzemkoski, coach of KU’s Spirit Squad, responded to a letter from the anti-woo group and agreed to have the members of the squad stop shaking their poms during the woos so they wouldn’t encourage them anymore.

“We wanted to preserve tradition,” Jarzemkoski said.

Members of the basketball band also no longer woo during the chant.

Matthew Diehl, who graduated from KU in 2004 and now lives in the Denver area, is another member of the Facebook group. This is obviously not a life or death matter, he said. And he said he encouraged fans to woo during other parts of the game, but he’s still interested in preserving the chant.

“That’s probably one of KU’s strongest brands,” he said.

While no organized effort has yet emerged to preserve the woo, it does have its defenders.

Lawrence resident Tracie Howell said she and her 2 1/2-year-old son Britton both enjoy the woo. At the end of a game, she said, it’s a good way to release some emotion, however you’re feeling it.

“However your woo comes out,” she said. “It can be a cheerleader or a male grunt kind of thing.”

Her son joins right in, and enjoys saying the chant — “woo” and all. He’ll even say it frequently outside the Allen Fieldhouse, too.

It would be hard to accuse Howell of turning her cheek on KU traditions, either. Her entire family is comprised of big basketball fans — so much so that her husband proposed to her at a KU NCAA tournament watch party in Dallas.

While Howell has no intention of stopping her woos anytime soon, she doesn’t hold any ill will toward those who don’t care for it.

“Either way,” Howell said, “at least we’re all fans.”


kusp8 5 years ago

In a world with attricious news it's good to see stories like this still being reported on.

JustNoticed 5 years ago

Maybe you haven't noticed that Lawrence is the home of the University of Kansas. The Lawrence Journal World reports on things in and around Lawrence. The chant is different from most college rah-rah BS and has a long tradition which is near and dear to Jayhawk fans who surely number in the tens (hundreds?) of thousands and are all over the world. This is an interesting story about history, tradition, how things change and how we react to change. Those are some reasons why it's worth reporting on. Fire? Car crash? Those are a dime a dozen.

frank mcguinness 5 years ago

Tracy and her son have the right to do whatever they want BUT you are helping destroy a tradition so I have to ask, how do you sleep at night knowing you are helping destroy a KU tradition?

Maybe my son and I should further ruin a tradition and start screaming whoop whoop at the end of the chant since it is a release after a game ya know. Maybe we can celebrate christmas in May since tradition doesn't matter.

Bernadette Rose 5 years ago


frank mcguinness 5 years ago

Really bernadetterose, since when do hipsters care about basketball or ku for that matter?

tailg8prty 5 years ago

I can see their point. I don't think it is newsworthy. I wish the students would stop yelling 'home of the CHIEFS' at KU games. It makes no freaking sense.

fundamental 5 years ago

I think there is considerable spillover from the group of students who say "home of the CHIEFS" to those who "Woo!" during the Rock Chalk Chant. In fact, they may be the exact same group of people.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Whoever sits around Tracy should make it perfectly clear to her that 'wooing' during the RCC is unacceptable.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Really? Who makes the rules? And exactly what will happen if she continues?

JackMcKee 5 years ago

the people around her should express some emotion of their own

JackMcKee 5 years ago

The same way we shame anyone in society when they do things that offend those around them. She can exercise her right to do a stupid "woo"during one of the most historic and haunting chants in athletics. She can go right ahead and ruin the enjoyment of tens of thousands of people who don't want to see it massacred with an effeminate addition. What does she care. It's all about Tracy.

elanorh 5 years ago

Perhaps they could turn to her and tell her she's got the cheer wrong. If she wants to woooo, she could wooo at home - not in Allen Fieldhouse. Home of the Phog, the "St. Andrews of College Basketball," etc.

Everyone around us did the Rock Chalk Chant properly while we were at the game we attended over break (we live out of state now). But if someone hadn't, I would probably have told them that there isn't a "wooo" in the chant, and ask them to stop.

A real fan, who is aware of our tradition, wouldn't want to continue to do it wrong.

frank mcguinness 5 years ago

The only way this will stop is if Bill Self himself addresses the issue. He needs to write an op-ed and announce before a game that anybody who woo's is against KU and America.

DillonBarnes 5 years ago

You're probably right, if Bill Self and a couple players expressed they didn't want to hear the woo, it would be gone by the next game.

Cody Stumma 5 years ago

Just like how Mark Mangino said that he didn't want to hear the "Rip his f***ing head off" kickoff chant? How'd that turn out for ya?

Matt Schwartz 5 years ago

yeah, f the wooing...turn up the bass and loudspeakers for the introduction.....sarcasm completed.

Mark Sanders 5 years ago

When did they start using canned music for the introductions? It sucks. I hope it's not a trend like other venues. I'll take the KU band over any recorded crap anytime.

riverdrifter 5 years ago

+1. It does suck. AD needs to end this junk!

riverdrifter 5 years ago

+1. It does suck. AD needs to end this junk!

rcjhKKKKUUUU 5 years ago

I' am a current student at KU ('14). I understand both sides of this argument. In all of the years that I have gone to a game with my father (a KU alumni, '88) I have never once seen him (nor his old college buddies) add a "woo" to the chant. If the people who started the facebook page were serious about the no "woo's" they would target the people that can discontinue it, current students. Students don't read the LJW, most don't even go to The facebook group was able to get a small segment in the UDK, but I would really hope they are able to get front page, if not just a full article. As far as I remember this has been going on all through the 2000's, and ALL the youtube footage that goes back about 6+ years have the "woo's" in them. If this was going to end it would have ended 5-10 years ago when it sounds like it started, since most people have been saying it didn't go on in the 90's. Since Matthew Diehl graduated in 2004 I guess the "woo's" started that fall cause this sounds like "woo's" to me (Nov. 2004) . Those of us who do go, or went, to KU would know that there is an event at the beginning of the year that is held in Memorial during HawkWeek called Traditions Night. It is free to the public and an open invitation to students (mainly new students) to learn the chants, songs, and traditions of KU. When they "taught" the chant (most people know it before they come) the crowd did the "woo's" but it wasn't taught to us. This can only show that the "woo's" have been going on for years now as it was students, and their parents, both doing it. One idea that I feel would be greatly effective is if there was a message before they did the rock chalk chant, at Traditions Night, then you would be stopping the problem for forthcoming years. I personally would like to see the “woo’s” end. There was a hand out that I was given my freshman year that said “Start A New KU Tradition,” I think it was for campus recycling or something, but I love that saying as I feel the majority of students want to create a positive tradition that will last forever and I feel that the “woo’s” are tarnishing a long held tradition. “Start A New KU Tradition” not “Modify And Destroy A KU Tradition.” Like I said I've heard from people on both sides of this some-what argument (it's one sided cause there's only one way to do the chant) but I don't know why this is new to everyone since the "woo's" have been going on for at least 5-10 years so it's clearly not going to die off anytime soon it's only growing stronger each year as KU grads are doing the "woo" (can only show that this started in the early 2000's). Maybe it's just highly noticeable now since it's becoming a part of the chant (Thanks class of 2000-2004) because it’s definitely not just students doing it. As long as you are a KU Student, or graduate, your opinion is viable on this topic. No Non-Jayhawks!

elanorh 5 years ago

In all honesty, when we first noticed the "wooo" while watching the game, my husband and I wondered whether the few fans who were there with the opposing team were doing it to wreck the cheer. When you mentioned "No Non-Jayhawks," that reminded me of that. I think many of us have been waiting (to no avail) for students and fans to stop it organically, and instead it's been as you note, becoming stronger.

I agree that it is the students who will need to reverse this. It starts with the students who camp out speaking out against it, and students need to really step up and lead. Part of the problem is that many students haven't seen or heard it applied effectively. I wish there was youtube footage of the chant being used while we were down to Indiana in overtime at home in Allen Fieldhouse - and then won the game (mid-90's).

This is what the chant should sound like, and sounded like until recently (starts at the :40 mark or so). This is the beginning-of-game chant, but the end of game chant should have the same cadence - followed by all the wooooooing people want to make, once the game is over.

Seriously, this chant's eerie, implacable build has won games for us. I can't imagine why anyone would want to change that.

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

Do it softly.
Same key as the opening cheer. No wooo. Softly. softly It is so erie, so haunting, so cool. It gave you goosebumps. It really would be an improvement. Please?

Judgesmails 5 years ago

Lighten up, Francis.

Who gives a crap?


jumpin_catfish 5 years ago

Really, seriously, woo vs. no woo! Some people need to get a life.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years ago

This is a front page headline issue??? Gadds!

rcjhKKKKUUUU 5 years ago

Front page of the UDK? Hell yeah it should be. If this is a front page issue then why cant the "woo" topic? Not much else happens on KU's campus that ends up being an article in the UDK.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years ago

Give this one a whirl....

"Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner (repeat 12 times)

"Sooner Born and Sooner Bred, When I die I'm Sooner dead, Rah-kahoma, Rah-Kahoma, Rah-kahoma, OKU!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Huh??)

brewmaster 5 years ago

There has been so much progress in past years since the Woo war and the Woo rights movement, but sadly in 2012 discrimmination agaisnt the Woo still exists. Society needs to finally recognize and celebrate the contribution of the Woo in business, education, sports and general culture.

Woo brothers and sisters must stand united agaisnt the tyranny and repression of the anti-Woo'ites.

Keep Woo alive...keep Woo alive...keep Woo alive !!! Occupy Woo !!!

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Not really. This matters to a lot of KU alumnus. Is it a life or death matter? Of course not. But to just dismiss it as if it is totally trivial is asinine.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

The why are you reading this article and posting about it?

Brock Masters 5 years ago

I read all types of articles and comment on lots of things - trivial and not trivial.

My opinion is that this is a trivial issue as it really doesn't matter in life's bigger issues. No one will die, no one will starve or suffer whether or not it stays or goes.

People should be able to freely express how they show their team support without people trying to stymie them. Traditions come and go and change over time.

2002 5 years ago

AMEN, stop it. And while you're at it stop "and the home of the Chiefs" too. Makes you all sound like MU fans.

scarletbhound 5 years ago

For many of us the "woo" is a big issue because we care deeply about tradition -- Naismith, Allen, championships. For more than a century the Rock Chalk chant has been an indelible part of that tradition. It 's gratifying to know that my great-grandmother (Class of 1914) and I chanted the Rock Chalk in the same way and for the same purpose -- to cheer on the Jayhawks. That a bunch of self-absorbed, know-nothing, tradition-illiterate people now think it is "fun" to trash a cherished heritage is a sad comment some members of the current generation of fans. Unfortunately, such people care nothing about KU history or tradition, only themselves. Let's hope other students will wake up and realize that such "fans" are denying them something precious -- being part of generations of Jayhawks who respect, honor and want to perpetuate one of the greatest traditions in American collegiate sports.

hawksfanatic 5 years ago

Lose the woo. Detracts from the chant. But I suppose nobody really gives a woo.

fanofKU 5 years ago

I can't believe this story is getting so much attention. If someone is so offended, don't go to the game. And, with businesses closing left and right in Lawrence, it would seem to me that the Journal World has much bigger issues to report on.

ZDKC 5 years ago

Those of you saying "who cares, it's not big deal." If that's the case, then you should have no issue NOT "woo'ing," right?

5DecadeHawk 5 years ago

The moment of eerie silence gives without the woo gives people chills for a reason.

That moment of silence is the power of the Phog. It floats around everywhere.

When I was first taught the Rock Chalk Chant as a little kid, I was taught to listen very very carefully during those short moments of silence in the middle of the chant. If I was very quiet and listened carefully, I could hear the KU greats of the past living on forever.

Try listening carefully next time. You might hear it too.

It's a lot harder to hear them now when everyone is doing the "woooooo" but if you really listen extremely hard and concentrate, you might be able to make out some faint echos from the past.

You might hear Wilt Chamberlain's hand slapping the basketball as he blocks a shot.

You might hear Danny Manning's sneakers squeak as he pivots to shoot his jump hook.

You might hear Larry Brown stamping his foot trying to get his point guard's attention to run a certain play.

You might hear one of Bud Stallworth's shots ripping the cords against Mizery.

You might hear Darnell Valentine poking a ball away as he gets another steal.

You might hear Darnell Jackson thumping his chest after a thunderous dunk.

You might hear Raef LaFrentz grunt as he rips another rebound out of the sky.

That moment of silence, when done properly, is filled with the electricity of the Phog and the echos of KU greats, but only if you are quiet and listen hard enough.

Each time you listen, you might hear a different KU great still playing ball. Pierce, Collison, Lovellette, and all the rest, they all are there in that moment of silence. You never know which one you might hear each time.

That's why you get chills. It's the ghosts and echos from the past living on, still playing ball, still Jayhawks.

Feel free to share this comment. Teach your kids. Share it on Facebook Tell your friends. Listen to the power of the Phog, and listen for the past KU greats living on.

elanorh 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing this! I'm sure someone will get this posted to the Facebook page ("There is no "Whoooo" in the Rock Chalk Chant") - it's beautifully written.

If I may suggest - please send this to the UDK. This is perfect. I'd love it as an insert in the beginning-of-season basketball paper that they print, but getting it in as a letter to the editor is a start.

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

exactly. I was so cool. I was taught the same thing. I used to hear Phog, congratualating the players telling them that their hard work did this, with a little help from the old man. I gives me goosebumps and almost tears just thinking about it.

brewmaster 5 years ago

Listen even closer and you'll hear a KU criminal defense lawyer telling the players "don't admit to anything, don't talk to anybody and refer all inquires to the athletic department."

fu7il3 5 years ago

I doubt they will be any more successful than the anti-"Rip his * head off!" campaign. Telling a college kid not to do something is a sure way to get them to do it forever.

DillonBarnes 5 years ago

Depends who tells them, like another poster said earlier, a quick note by Bill Self would probably stop it cold.

Hawklin 5 years ago

If you need to fulfill your self absorbed release of emotion... Put your popcorn down and cheer during the game. Stop ruining what is the best chant in existance. It is the most embarrassing thing to happen to a game day experience.

MrMister 5 years ago

I believe the only place the "Woo" (or is it whoo) belongs, is after "lemonade, lemonade, lemonade!". Long live the Lemonade Man!

Terry Sexton 5 years ago

Really doesn't matter to me, therefore I agree with ZDKC. Respect is the way to go. I love the Lemonade Man! A big Woo for him!

classclown 5 years ago

The bottom line is that these people pay good money to attend the games. If they want to "WOOO", during the chant they can. It's called evolution. The old chant is exactly that. Old. Past it's "best if used by" date. Time for the new crowd and a new chant.

Perhaps once or twice a year KU can have an old folks night whereas all the old fuddie duddies can come to show people how the chant was back in the day. And you can regale them with tales of how back in the day, you walked five blocks in the snow to get to the field house.

Get rid of the staleness! Make things fresh! Keep on WOOOing!

JackMcKee 5 years ago

ladies and gentlemen. meet an MU fan.

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

wrong. Typical disrespect. Systemic in our society.

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

Really guys. In the "old" days the chant was done in the same key as the opening chant. But quieter and no woo. It was eirie, haunting. It was the ghost of the Phog letting the other team know that the AFH has hauntings that cloud the other teams abilitys. Now it has turned into just another "in your face sucker" kind of taunt.
Much less classy and not nearly as cool. The old way used to raise goosebumps. And was so appropriate. That is what inspired the banner of "Beware all who enter"" It was so cool. Not anymore.

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

But it really needs to be done in the same key as the opening cheer.
Try it guys, you wouldn't believe how cool it sounds.

classclown 5 years ago

JackMcKee (anonymous) replies…

ladies and gentlemen. meet an MU fan.


Sorry to burst your bubble, but I am not an MU fan, although your response is very typical of a KU alum that isn't hearing what it wants to hear. Ladies and gentlemen, meet one of the stuffy old fuddy duddies..

Maybe what really gets your goat as well as the rest of the 'traditionalists, is that the newer students are not allowing their attending a mediocre school turn them into a bunch of snobs. Like I said, they're paying to attend so let them have their fun.

You folks can always stay home and do your creepy versions.

elanorh 5 years ago

If you really are a KU student, you might be surprised to learn that the facebook group organized around this includes Jayhawks of all ages, including current students. Go ahead and try your "wooo" next to one of them. You might be surprised by their reaction.

Students are on campus for 3-6 years, maximum. You may think that you're having some huge, lasting, meaningful impact, but in the end you are a transitory object. You're just passing through. University decisions, whether about parking, housing, tuition, or etc. aren't about current students - they know you're leaving. KU is bigger than any particular group of students. You'll learn that, with time.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

"Maybe what really gets your goat as well as the rest of the 'traditionalists, is that the newer students are not allowing their attending a mediocre school turn them into a bunch of snobs. Like I said, they're paying to attend so let them have their fun."

There is no way this was written by a KU student.

rcjhKKKKUUUU 5 years ago

Im with you JackMcKee. This is definitely not a KU student. May not be an MU fan, but certainly not a Jayhawk. I' am a KU student, and I have never heard a KU student, or Grad, refer to the University of Kansas as a "mediocre" school. Respect KU's tradition, that means respecting the Hawks that came before us. No "woo."

rcjhKKKKUUUU 5 years ago

Fun Fact: "Woo" was quantrill's, and the bushwackers, battle cry during the raid on Lawrence

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