Much is being made in the blogosphere, message boards, and mainstream media about Duke Student Government’s decision to ban UNC-Chapel Hill Robertson Scholars from participating in the annual festival of Blue Devil fandom known as Krzyzewskiville.
The Robertson Scholar program is a Duke-Carolina scholarship initiative that allows select students from each university to matriculate at one school and spend a semester living and taking classes at the other school of different blue hue. During the 2005-2006 basketball season, a group of Robertson scholars from UNC used their Duke student status to participate in Krzyzewskiville, gaining entry to the Duke-UNC game. After entering Cameron Indoor stadium, the students ripped off their Duke paraphenalia and became a light blue island amidst a sea of darker blue Cameron Crazies.
It was a brilliantly executed plan, an ingeniously orchestrated arrangement that broke no rules, but rather stayed true to the letter of the law. The Robertson program is nothing if not selective, and these young Tarheels used their charisma and chutzpah to gain an experience of a lifetime.
Sadly, it seems that the reaction from Durham has been less than enthusiastic. After deciding to ban future UNC Robertson scholars from participating in future Krzyzewskiville activities, the Duke student senate said that last year’s actions “actions ruined the game for many Duke students last season.”
One article called last year’s incident “a colossal affront at one of the season’s hottest games.” While no doubt divisive, the real colossal affront in this situation is the reaction by the Duke students. Their decision to ban UNC Robertson Scholars is a direct slap in the face to the Robertson Scholar program, one that was designed to “to serve as a catalyst to increased collaboration between students, faculty, and staff of the two universities.”
The irony of the whole story is that Duke’s fanbase takes such great pride in being the most vocal and creative in all of college basketball, a group that is willing to push the envelope of generally accepted behavior in order to create an environment that is unique in the world of college sports. Had the roles been reversed, and Duke Robertson scholars found their way into the riser section at the Dean Dome, they would have been heralded as heroes and geniuses, the world’s greatest fans.
Getting a taste of your own medicine can be a tough. I guess running away from the problem is easier, even if ridiculous.