Northwestern asks super fan to be quiet

Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Northwestern games will never be the same. Your eardrums might stay intact, though.

Emily Harriott, who has spent the last three-plus seasons delivering her trademark shriek during Wildcats home games, has been asked by the school to cease her high-pitched cheering that has become a mainstay both inside Welsh-Ryan Arena and through broadcasts emanating from there.

“It caught me a little by surprise,” Harriott told the Chicago Tribune, “because I’ve been doing it for the last 3½ years.”

Harriott is the president of the Northwestern student section, and has been unleashing he screech to try to prod both her fellow fans and the team she supports to another level.

“It gets their attention; some of the kids are on their phones and not dialed into the game,” Harriott said to the Tribune. “Plus enough people say it’s annoying, so I figure it must be annoying to the opposing team. I’m not the sixth man, but I try to be the 5½ — half a helpful person.”

After complaints from fans and broadcast partners, though, the school ultimately asked her to make it stop.

“She’s an amazing student and an incredible fan of Northwestern athletics,” Mike Polisky, NU senior associate athletic director, told the Tribune. “We could not imagine a game without her.”

And now no one needs to imagine a game without her signature shriek, though, as Harriott kept it to herself for the first time Wednesday – a 73-63 loss to Iowa.

“I will admit,” she said, “to being a little superstitious.”

With a 10-6 overall record (1-4 in the Big Ten), and now with three home losses, it’s not like Northwestern is giving Harriott – or anyone else – much to scream – or cheer – about anyway.