Why does The All State use asterisks when referencing Mu**ay State?
“Mu**ay’s like a swear word, and we like to keep our paper wholesome and clean.”
Noah Houck, who served as sports editor of The All State from 2017-19, popularized the newspaper’s use of asterisks in place of the letter “R” when mentioning the Racers.
The former editor based the idea from The Lantern, the student-run newspaper at Ohio State, who removed the letter “M” from an entire paper during their rivalry week against Michigan.
“We looked as that as an inspiration and kind of thought ‘How, in our medium, can we present the rivalry in doing something special like that?'” Houck said. “We settled on using the asterisks, we thought that would be fun and unique.”
After coming up with the concept, Houck’s staff began the widespread use of asterisks in every sports article regarding Mu**ay State. Despite approval from varying staff members at the time, the group had doubts early on about their execution.
“One of my concerns was people not knowing or necessarily recognizing it at first,” Houck added. “When you look at Mu**ay, there’s not much you can come away with of what it could be. Especially if you’re reading it in the sense of a sports section of a paper or online. I like to think it was pretty successful. I wish I could have had more engagement, I suppose.”
Now nearly two years removed from the position, The All State continues to include asterisks when mentioning the Racers in all facets of athletics. With the 90th anniversary of the newspaper approaching, Houck is thankful to have made an impact on the historic publication.
“Seeing that it was staying consistent and staying there was such a nice little pat on the back, to see people still enjoy it. I thought it was something fun and didn’t want to take it away.
“Whenever I see it, I kind of get a reminder of the impact that I’ve had in my short time at Austin Peay and the history of The All State. Knowing that I can have an impact like that, that extends past my time as sports editor and managing editor is a nice thing to see.”
Houck credited the leadership and guidance of previous staff members at the paper – Glavine Day, Jimmy Trodglen, Jake Lowary, Patrick Armstrong and Celeste Malone – to the importance of creating a lasting legacy throughout the world of journalism in Clarksville.
“The All State is a paper that’s meant a lot to me and has meant a lot to some of my friends that I studied with,” he said. “I wanted to do something to show the strength of the staff and attribute that to what it’s meant to me.”