Crazier than ever before?
Huge interest in black tenting leads to ‘unprecedented’ trivia tiebreaker
If Duke students of years past were not already crazy enough about their men's basketball team, then this year's crop might be the craziest yet.
With more than 160 tenting groups registered as of last Friday, the Krzyzewskiville line monitors were forced to improvise and figure out how to determine which tents will earn one of the first 70 coveted tent spots in the annual tent village.
After a few days of deliberation, co-Head Line Monitors Steve Brenner and Delaney King announced via email Friday that a trivia contest slated for Wednesday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium will do just that.
"Within a few hours after we released the tent registration form, we learned that the interest was ultimately going to exceed our capacity, so we decided we wanted to do something different," Brenner said.
In most years, the registration form has functioned simply as a formality to indicate a group's desire to start tenting.
But with a shorter than usual tenting season—just 21 days, running from Jan. 12 through Feb. 2—more than 100 groups signed up within the first 12 hours after the form was released.
The situation was "highly unprecedented," Brenner said. Although official K-Ville policy states that registration time is a factor for tents that start after the designated start dates for the longest periods of tenting, the line monitors felt as a group that time alone would not be fair in this scenario.
"Everyone was throwing out a lot of ideas, and we tried to weigh every possibility," said junior Diane Hadley, co-vice president of tenting. "We ended up getting to our solution mostly because we were thinking of future years."
Although the pencil-and-paper quiz has yet to be completely designed, Brenner and Hadley both explained that the questions will be written so that any student who has followed the team this year will be able to answer them—and even those new to Duke will not have to spend hours studying decades of Blue Devil basketball history.
But that does not mean all students are thrilled by the latest change.
"I wish they had said how many tents had signed up for black tenting so we would have some idea," sophomore Henry Kistler said. "People need to know if they can order stuff for tenting or if they will not be getting a spot in K-Ville."
Black tenting is the longest period of tenting and requires the most people to be in K-Ville during the day and at night. The number of black and blue tents—blue tenting is the second-longest period—is capped at 70 to reserve the final 30 tents for white tenting, the shortest period with the most lax tent capacity constraints.
After trivia scores are calculated, the top 70 tents will begin occupying K-Ville Thursday, and groups that do not fare as well will be put on the waitlist to start later in the season if a spot opens up. Despite the huge amount of interest in black tenting, 30 spots will still be saved for the white tenting period, which begins Jan. 27.
Brenner explained that the 100-tent capacity of K-Ville cannot yet be expanded until further consultation with school administration and Duke Athletics. He also said that saving the normal number of spots for white tenting is necessary to preserve the option for those who are unable to commit to a grueling three weeks.
For some tenting newcomers, like freshman Dan North, the improvised solution has not put a damper on their plans. Although certain first-year groups may be dropping out as a result of change, the Massachusetts native said his crew feels well-prepared to win themselves a spot.
Fellow freshman Ryan Bronstein expressed a similar confidence in his tent's ability, but added that he hopes there may be some changes to the K-Ville policy in future years.
"I'm just lucky that there are a couple people in my group that are excited for the trivia and want to study," Bronstein said. "However, the space is there and if someone is more committed to tenting, then they should certainly get that priority over the walk-up line.... Anyone who's willing to [sleep outside for multiple weeks], they're crazy enough."
Inevitably, some students will be left out following Wednesday's trivia. The line monitors explained that by not adding tents to K-Ville, they hope to allow a significant number of students in via the walk-up line, which starts Feb. 6.
But both Brenner and Hadley expressed that the entire group felt this solution would be the most equitable to all students.
“I really understand that this is complicated for people, and it creates an extra layer for us," Brenner said. "The reason we wanted to do it is because we are in our position not just to be line monitors who are all-powerful—we are here to serve the most dedicated, enthusiastic fans of Duke basketball, and we wanted to come up with a system this year given this extraordinary situation that serves that purpose.”