Because basketball season is upon us, and we’re in the middle of football season, I think a refresher on the rules of college sports fandom is in order:
1) You have one school – the one you went to!
1a) If you went to a lower-division school, you’re allowed to chose a school with either family or regional significance to you, and that is then your team. No switching! That team cannot be Notre Dame unless you have a building named after you there.
2) Grad school – if you went to grad school, you are allowed to root for that team, even allow its performance affect your mood, etc, but your undergrad school always comes first.
2a) If you root for an undergrad school that is not your own, due to rule 1a, your grad school takes pole position in your personal fan hierarchy. Sorry, just the way it works.
3) Rivals-you ALWAYS root against your rival. Not passively, but actively root against them. Note, this does not have to be the “traditional” rival, but more importantly your schools most hated rival. Conference pride, schmonference pride.
4) Conference-you root for teams within your conference (except your rival) when it will help your team, and against when it will hurt your team. In the post season, you root for your conference (again, except the rival).
“What happens when #3 conflicts with #2?”
The rules are pretty clear. Lets say you went to Ohio State for undergrad, and Michigan for Grad school – you would root against Michigan when they play each other.
Or, you went to a lower division school, always rooted for UNC, but are now at Duke for grad school. The rules state that you’re now a Duke fan first, and thus must always root against UNC.
We clear? Go Duke!