There are many different reasons a student at a specific university may choose to root for another team at a different university as opposed to their own. After a lot of polling and on-the-street questioning I was able to come up with seven reasons why college students go to one University and cheer for the teams of another.
Over this Thanksgiving break I was able to spend some time with old friends and journey the short twenty minute ride into the City of Philadelphia, as well as the Rutgers and Jets football game.
While bothering many different human beings wearing different teams at both tailgates as well as the Marist tailgate last weekend my seven most common answers are listed below.
Legacy was the most common answer I received because parents are very influential on kids in every way but sports is one of the most common. Pride is a big reason parents push their Alma mater on their children corrupting them at a young age. I had one Rutgers student tell me she didn’t know when she started to become an Ohio State fan but her parents “watched nothing but Ohio State and owned all clothing from the school,” pushing the pride and fan ship to the next generation.
- Former athlete and its dream school
The second most common answer I received was from former high-school athletes saying the school they cheer for is their dream school they would have chosen to play for if they had the chance. The top tier school’s like Duke, Notre Dame, Kentucky, and Alabama are where kids dream of playing since they were young and grow into that fan ship themselves. “I grew up a Fighting Irish fan and even though the dream of playing for Notre Dame died, the pride and wanting to see them win didn’t,” said Senior Matt Trotta. Most sport-lovers fall in love with a school and if they can’t play for them or go to that school they still find a way to cheer for them.
- Appeal of the uniform and school itself
Some people are strictly fans of other Universities and Colleges because of the Uniform or even the field or court they play on. Notre Dame is the type of school where the tradition and gold helmets draw in fans from outside schools. “I’ve always found myself rooting for the Oregon Ducks because of the crazy uniforms they roll out,” said fellow tailgate member Justin S-L. Certain attractions draw certain people.
- Success of that school against entire country
Sometimes the University a student is enrolled in doesn’t have the nation-wide success other schools do and at a certain point in the season the schools team is non-existent. “I cheer for Penn State and Marist throughout the season, but Penn State tends to play longer and have more success later in the season so I carry out that passion longer,” said Senior Bobby Ferrara.
- Lack of school spirit at own school
Then there are the schools that lack the caring of the student body about the life of sports around campus based off of lack of success or overall non-caring. “We’re a D-3 school that just isn’t very good which is why I’ve always been such a big Notre Dame fan,” said Junior Phil Jutkiewicz.
- Players attracting National attention
I think we all know one of the most obvious players over the past year to draw attention to a University is Johnny Manziel. Manziel made every college male jealous while he was the starting quarter-back of Texas A&M. “I actually found myself routing for the University of Central Florida while Blake Bortles was at the University because he was my favorite on and off the field,” said Senior Ryan Pavlicek.
- Proximity to home
“Homies.” There is always the type of fans that we like to consider “Homies.” These types of fans will do anything for their teams at home over the school they go to any day. Fans go away to school no matter the distance but not only bring the pride of home with them but their fan ship of the local Universities and Colleges with them.
Overall, there are many different reasons that lead students at Universities and Colleges to cheer for another school. The side question I was polling over the last week was, Is this acceptable at every University? Surprisingly most of my answers were, “yes that’s fine.” However in continuing those conversations I brought up big Universities like Alabama, Duke, Wisconsin and cheering for those rivals which brought on a hesitant yes.
The most common answer soon became, “yeah, but it can’t be advertised,” and “well why would they go to a school to cheer for their rival?” All I was able to tell them was we don’t know every situation and every conversation led back to just having an absurd amount of school spirit for your own University.