Poll Results: Why do you hate Duke?

Over the past week, we’ve conducted a poll that asks our readers why they hate the Duke Blue Devils. Here are the results (250 respondents):

The results are interesting. While 37% of respondents freely admit that they don’t hate Duke, that means that 63% do, for one reason or another. The top reasons were “they get all the calls” with 20%, “private school, elitist student body” with 14%, and “Christian Laettner, J.J. Redick, etc.” with 8%. Surprisingly, “Coach K” (3%) and “they win too much” (4%) were not popular responses.

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A Duke hater chats with The Scores Report

As we get ready for the Duke/Butler matchup tonight, I thought it would be interesting to get my buddy (and Duke hater) LaRusso on the line to bash the Blue Devils.

John Paulsen: You’re a proud Duke hater, correct?

LaRusso: I am.

JP: What’s the biggest reason you hate Duke?

LR: It seems like, I don’t know if they have a sense of entitlement, but columnists, I guess ESPN, Dick Vitale, just seem to put them up on a pedestal a lot. They’re on TV all the time. They’re a good program — a top of the line program — so they’re going to draw attention. Like me, people hate them or people love them. One way or another they’re going to move the needle. So I think it’s a perceived elitist mentality of how they are so much better than everybody. They seem to get calls, they get more publicity than other schools. So I think that’s the driving factor.

JP: So one article I read listed like five reasons why people hate Duke and a commenter added a few more, so want to list them off and see what you think. So you think that they’re media darlings?

LR: Yes.

JP: They’re often compared to the Yankees, Cowboys and Patriots, and I guess the Lakers in terms of how much attention they get. I don’t like the Yankees comparison because it’s not like Duke can go out and outspend everybody. If anything, Coach K is at a disadvantage when compared with, say, North Carolina, in terms of recruiting because of Duke’s high academic standards.

LR: They do have tougher standards for academics. Some schools make concessions for athletes, I don’t know if Duke does that, it doesn’t seem like it. They always have smart kids. I don’t know if they’re on the same level as the Yankees and Red Sox. That’s all the media talks about. And in football, I’d probably say it’s more Cowboys — I don’t think the Patriots get much love. They’re probably more hated now than loved like they were when Brady first came up and they started winning. It seems to have flipped 180 on them.

JP: Well, we don’t have a local football team in Southern California, and if the Chargers aren’t on. We’re going to get the Cowboys because people either love them or they hate them. But it’s funny to me, because those teams that Duke is compared to — I hate them all. I don’t like the Yankees, or the Patriots or the Cowboys, so the fact that I’ve been a Duke fan since the days of Johnny Dawkins strikes some people as funny. I just gravitated towards the way that Coach K gets his kids to play night in and night out. We’ve talked about this in the past — I really take offense to this whole Yankees argument —

LR: I guess a better way to put it is that Duke is force-fed to us a little too much.

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Why does everyone hate Duke?

The Week has a piece that outlines five theories why everyone seems to hate Duke.

1. Americans hate monopolies, and love underdogs: Think of Duke as Microsoft, says workplace psychologist Paul Damiano, as quoted in Newsweek. Duke’s basketball prowess, like Microsoft’s software near-monopoly, makes people mad. Americans love underdogs that fight for victory with few resources. Conversely, we hate dominant businesses and sports teams — the New York Yankees are a prime example — on the assumption they buy the best players, or get cushy treatment from the regulators (“aka the referees”). Case in point: Many writers have complained that Duke got easy opponents to help it go far in the tournament, because Blue Devil hatred translates into good TV ratings.

Sure…only Duke hasn’t been to the Final Four in six years. They are still a top 10 basketball program, certainly, but they aren’t the dominant program they were in years past. If that were the case, why doesn’t everyone hate North Carolina or Michigan State? And I don’t like the comparison to the New York Yankees. Duke can’t go around and buy up all the best free agents. If anything, Coach K is at a disadvantage due to Duke’s stringent admission standards.

2. The “Cameron Crazies”: No school has more infamous fans than Duke’s Cameron Crazies, says John Gasaway in Basketball Prospectus. And many Duke haters believe the rowdy — some would say obnoxious — student fans who cram into Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium for home games and relentlessly taunt opposing players give their team an unfair advantage. Or, as a student at nearby arch-rival University of Carolina put it: “When I see those Dookie boneheads shoe-polishing their faces navy blue on television, squandering their parents’ money with their fratty elitist bad sportsmanship antics and Saab stories, I want to puke all over Durham.”

Really, we’re going to ask a Tar Heel fan to comment about the Cameron Crazies? That’s like asking Sarah Palin to comment on Dennis Kucinich’s single-payer health care plan. I suspect even most Duke haters wish that their team had a home court advantage like Duke does. Unfair advantage? Give me a break.

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