By Jill Miller
‘Walk-out’ music, a feature of Union’s softball and baseball games in the past, is missing this spring season.
The music, used to accompany players when they walk from the dugout to the batter’s box to have their turn at bat, has been cut.
Tommy Sadler, director of athletics; Katie Woodruff, assistant director of athletics; or Steven Aldridge, sports information director — the three people who oversee the choice of lyrics and music for these types of activities — say the problem is in the language and content.
“We have continued to get music that we feel is inappropriate or that has lyrics that are inappropriate, so that’s the reason we’ve decided to end that practice,” Sadler said.
Anonymous complaints also were submitted to Sadler — some from staff members at Union and from members of the community at the sporting events – saying that the music did not reflect Union’s values and was inappropriate for a family atmosphere.
Sadler said it is his, Woodruff’s and Aldridge’s job to ensure the games foster a family atmosphere where children and adults can have fun.
The athletic department wants an atmosphere that portrays Christ, and they believe some of the songs and their lyrics did not contribute to that kind of atmosphere.
Sadler also said the review process was difficult and time-consuming because after songs were rejected, similar songs would be submitted again.
“I don’t believe we had any student athletes who intended [to submit inappropriate songs], but sometimes they just hear a song and it’s very popular, and people don’t listen to the lyrics very closely,” Sadler said.
Although all sports teams at Union must abide by the song-reviewing process, only the baseball and softball teams are affected by the decision to stop using ‘walk-out’ music, because they are the only teams that have used it.
Songs such as “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson were rejected.
No list of approved songs was compiled, but players were made aware of the guidelines by which they were to choose songs, Sadler said.
Daniel Mathis, freshman biochemistry major, is an outfielder for the Bulldogs.
Having ‘walk-out’ music was one of the perks of college athletics that he looked forward to during high school, but the cut did not upset him personally.
“Many of the guys were upset because they felt that ‘walk-out’ music added to the excitement of the game and was a something they deserved as a NCAA Division II college athlete,” Mathis said.
Taylor Hargrove, sophomore business administration major, plays left field for the Lady Bulldogs and was upset by the cut as well.
“[Walk-out music] is what pumps the batter and the dugout to help keep us awake and in the game,” Hargrove said. “’Amazing Grace’” is a good song, but not one I want to listen to, to pump me up for a game.”
DeShuni Sanders, senior English major, is an outfielder for the Lady Bulldogs.
“It is nice to have that extra perk,” Sanders said. “But it’s not anything that’s going to stop your ability.”