A record 174 tenting groups—nearly one-third of the undergraduate student population—packed onto the court of Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night for an opportunity to become one of the 70 Blue tents in Krzyzewskiville.
Tenting refers to the tradition of students spending weeks camping out in tents in the field in front of Wilson Gym, better known as K-Ville, in order to get seats in the student section for the men’s basketball game against University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beginning on Jan. 23, those 70 tents of 12 students each will begin the Blue tenting stage, which requires each tent to have two occupants during the day and six at night. On Feb. 13, a new batch of White tents will enter K-ville, after the "race to the secret spot" scavenger hunt, for a 12 day stint until Feb. 25.
On Feb. 25, all tenters will complete Personal Checks, known as P-Checks, where everyone tenting must wait in K-Ville to pass three tent checks in one night. The event usually contains food trucks, partying and a concert. If the tenters pass P-Checks, they are granted access to the March 5 matchup against UNC.
Coming off of a year of empty stands and preparing to celebrate Coach K’s final game in Cameron, demand to see the Tobacco Road rivalry in action is higher than ever.
“It's K's last game at Cameron. And it's iconic—just think about how much those tickets are going for. I think when I look back on my Duke life ten, twenty years from now … I'm going to be wishing I was at every game; I'm gonna be telling stories about, ‘I was at this icon's last game at Cameron,’” junior Matthew Traum said. "Like, how can you say no, how can you not do everything you can to get in there, right?"
Due to the virtual start to the spring semester, Blue tenting replaced Black tenting as the first tenting period of the year. A shortened tenting season might be another reason for the record number of test-takers.
"We wanted to do White [or maybe Blue] tenting originally, but once they shortened the season … we were like, okay, we're doing blue," senior Harshi Devisetty said.
Questions on the entry test were all based on the current basketball season to level the playing field between basketball fans who have had more experience in Cameron.
Some test-takers thought the move to Blue tenting would mean the trivia test would be more competitive than usual and spent their winter break studying game stats, creating Quizlets and scouring players' social media accounts for potential trivia answers.
“We weren't studying as much per se, at first. But when we found out there were going to be 174 tents, we decided that we had to up our game,” junior Satya Pusuluri said. “We are approaching this test like it's a final exam for a class. Like, we are getting together every day creating practice exams for each other. We're giving each other stuff that we need to memorize. We're looking into every single news article on the internet … I've never studied this hard for a final before.”
When the time rolled around, Cameron was filled with the bustling noise of chatter as tenters worked together to solve the test.
Line monitors patrolled Coach K Court, going from group to group to answer questions and deter potential cheating. Before the test started, tenters were required to put their phones, smartwatches, and computers into plastic Ziploc bags so that they could not access technology during the test.
For the line monitors, test security is paramount, given the high stakes nature of the test. This year, the test was solely written by the two co-vice presidents of tenting, seniors Daniel Behrens and Ben Randoing. Although other line monitors have offered questions, they don't know whether their questions have been used.
Tests are printed securely by Duke Athletics so that the test is confidential until the time arrives.
The line monitors stayed in Cameron until the early morning hours to score tests and send email notifications as early as possible, so Blue tenters have ample time to prepare before tent set-up on Sunday. Nonetheless, with the sheer number of students who want to reside in K-Ville this year, not everyone will get a spot for blue tenting.
"We definitely had high expectations—this year, we've seen a lot of interest, even as early as Countdown [to Craziness] ... but this has exceeded anything we could have expected and really is an amazing amount of interest," senior and Co-Head Line Monitor Cameron Jarnot said. "We're really hopeful that we'll be able to keep everyone engaged in the K-Ville community [even if they didn't get to blue tent], whether that's through walk-up lines, or programming events, or whatever we can. And we just want to make sure that, you know, the K-Ville community stays strong despite the limits on capacity that we have."
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