The independent news organization of Duke University

In basketball, the whole school wins

The Cameron Crazies' first priority may be cheering on the basketball team, but, in the process, they give an assist to the University's national reputation.

One of the ways Duke distinguishes itself from peer institutions is through the quality of the basketball program and the teams' extensive following among the student body.

"I think the basketball team definitely gives the school exposure. Both the academics and athletics are exceptional so it makes us unique," said Trinity freshman Jaclyn Panaggio.

Although students don't necessarily come to Duke because of its basketball team, just about everyone agrees that the University's trademark blend of successful basketball and academics brings Duke much of its national publicity.

"The sports create a positive image that helps us talk about the other things that makes Duke a great place," said Director of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag.

But the admissions office explained that they have found no recent correlation between the success of the basketball team and the number of applications to the University. Guttentag said their was a jump in applicants after the 1986-87 basketball season-the first Final Four in the Mike Krzyzewski era-but that the applicant pool has been relatively constant since.

However, he noted that, "the impressions or image of Duke athletics and of its teams, players and coaches really help us" when officers talk with prospective students and their parents.

This image is proudly referred to as the "work hard, play hard," mentality by the student body.

"When everyone goes to the games, they go crazy, but later, they've got to go back to their rooms and focus on getting their work done," said Pratt freshman Andrew Barbas.

Many students say it is this mentality that separates the University from its Ivy League peers.

This identity grabs the attention of a wide variety of potential applicants and encourages many of them to take a better look at the University.

"As a senior, looking back, I remember that in my freshman year many of my classmates mentioned that they wanted to come here... because of basketball," said Trinity senior Erin Squires. "They said it jokingly, but that is really how a lot of people first heard the Duke name."

Most students agreed that the unparalleled success of the basketball team over the last decade was a factor in their decision to attend the University.

"For me, it was originally that I became a Duke basketball fan, but later when I reached the age of looking at schools, I noticed that the academics were top of the line," said Trinity freshman Charles Capito. "I'll definitely stand in a long line or get up early for tickets, but my school work will still come first."

Pratt freshman Matt Maier said his interest in the University was sparked by the notion of the basketball team. "[Duke] is somewhere that you can walk away from and be proud to have been a part of," he said.

This spirit is particularly strong in freshmen who have yet to experience a season of Duke basketball. "My high school didn't have any school spirit, so for college, I wanted to go somewhere that did," said Trinity freshman Ashley Wood. "Basketball gives Duke students something to do other than just study or party."


Share and discuss “In basketball, the whole school wins” on social media.