College Traditions: UW Madison’s “Jump Around”
At home football games at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, students “Jump Around” to a song by the group House of Pain between the third and fourth quarters. The tradition grew out of the men’s varsity swim team members playing it over a portable CD player and broadcasting via a smuggled-in megaphone to sections O and P during the games to rile up those sections. This began in 1993, well before the official start. In March of 1997, at a Fraternity party at Delta Tau Delta at midnight the song was played with the football team and members of the future stadium employees and it became the midnight anthem for every party till the end of that year. The “official” start was on Saturday, October 10, 1998, at the Badgers Homecoming game against the Purdue Boilermakers. After no offensive points were scored in the third quarter, and en route to their second 6–0 start of the modern football era, one of the Badgers’ marketing agents, who was in charge of sound, piped the song through the loudspeakers. It stirred up fans and players and become an eventual tradition.
However, on September 6, 2003 (the Badgers’ first home game of the season), with construction of skyboxes surrounding Camp Randall Stadium, UW officials decided to cancel the “Jump Around” due to worries about structural integrity. Stadium security and the local police department had been informed of this decision but no notification had been given to the fans. When news surfaced on Monday, September 8, that this event was not a technical or human malfunction, but rather a decision by campus officials, the students launched a protest. Petitions circulated and students pushed back against administration. Structural engineers confirmed that the stadium would suffer no structural damage caused by the vibrations created by jumping. Two days later, Chancellor John D. Wiley announced that the “Jump Around” tradition would resume. The song’s title is displayed on unofficial Wisconsin Badgers clothing and apparel, along with the credit/debit cards of the university’s employee/student/alumni credit union.