HUGE news from Penn as the first day of practice concludes: the tradition of throwing streamers onto the Palestra floor will return in 2010.
The tradition was a mainstay of Big 5 basketball in the 80s — each team's fans would throw streamers of their school colors after their team scored its first field goal. Play would be paused, the streamers cleaned, and the game would go on. However, in 1985, Princeton fans began throwing orange and black marshmallows, fans in other conferences began taking the tradition and altering it (throwing larger, more dangerous objects) until the NCAA stepped in and put a prohibition on the tradition. Teams whose fans threw streamers were given technical fouls by the referees.
Well it's back — now in an altered and technical-foul free form.
"STREAMERS will return to the Palestra this season; in a modified version," according to a promotional email from Penn Athletics. "Streamers will be distributed and thrown post-game when Penn wins; during the singing of The Red and The Blue. Only those sitting in the lower sections of the student section (season ticket holders) will be able to participate in the revival of the streamers tradition."
For a nice account of the tradition from Robert Lyons' book Palestra Pandemonium, click here.