Cowbells: Technically Banned from Beaver Stadium
For this year’s whiteout game against Ohio State, more than 107,000 fans tightly packed themselves into Beaver Stadium and created one of the loudest atmospheres the venue has ever seen. At its highest volume, the noise on the field maxed out at 111 decibels, just 14 decibels short of the pain threshold.
It may be scary to think, but the noise level could have been even louder.
Though the policy doesn’t seem to fit with the venue’s noisy atmosphere, Beaver Stadium has a ban on noisemakers like whistles, air horns, vuvuzelas, and even cowbells. That’s right, I said cowbells.
It’s understandable that whistles and air horns are banned from the stadium since they are more than capable of reaching a decibel level higher than 120. But one would think an ubiquitous noisemaker like the cowbell is a necessity in Beaver Stadium, given its prevalence at every home game.
“The noise policy is a response to prevent the creation of an obnoxious situation, as well as a means of protecting the [stadium] environment,” said Mark Bodenschatz, the Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations. That policy is consistent with others in stadiums across the country.
So why are there so many cowbells in the student section?
“The issue is more associated with air horns, whistles, and other noisemakers that may cause a disturbance,” Bodenschatz said.
Still, cowbells do not receive an exemption simply because they are more common than other noise makers. The event staff strictly enforces the rules of the student section.
“When [cowbells and other noisemakers] are used inside the stadium, the ushers will take action and ask them to leave the area,” Bodenschatz said.
However, rules are meant to be broken. The cowbells are an extremely popular item in the stadium and a necessity at this point. With excessive amounts of adrenaline and alcohol coursing through students’ veins, the last thing most are concerned about is the amplitude of the stadium volume.
A game in the student section would not feel the same if someone didn’t get up on a friend’s shoulders and perform that beloved P-S-U chant. So, until the ban is lifted, be sure to stick that bell in your jeans.