Hearne: The Trouble With KU Fans

I’ll make this quick…

A couple observations on the cult-like thinking and behavior of KU basketball fans from behind the Iron Curtain in Lawrence, Kansas.

To spell it out, with rare exception they’re in denial.

To be a KU basketball fan in Lawrence, your devotion must be blind.

Anybody who can find even the slightest wrong – such as players slapping around girlfriends or kicking the you-know-what out of a women’s car outside some bar late at night, is one of two things:

Either a jealous Missouri Tiger fan or someone who just doesn’t get the fact that with ultra rare exception, basketball coach Bill Self and the Kansas athletics department can do no wrong…

Where basketball is concerned, that is.

I mean, they’re the gang that can’t shoot straight in terms of the Jayhawk’s football  program, but that’s of little concern anyway, so no harm, no foul.

Thinking I’m making this up or exaggerating?

Trust me, I’m not.

I deal with these people week in and week out. And outside of KU basketball, they’re successful, normal seeming, otherwise intelligent, rational adults.

Because as long as the KU roundballers are winning, count on their their cult following in Lawrence to see no evil.

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22 Responses to Hearne: The Trouble With KU Fans

  1. The Word says:

    You just described every fan base in the U.S.

    Alabama football fans…they’re in denial.
    Kentucky basketball fans…their team can do no wrong. The football program, of little concern.
    Nebraska football fans in the ’90s…your devotion must be blind.

    The list can go on and on. Nothing new.

  2. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    What? Another “KU fans are……” article? This is some groundbreaking stuff. About time somebody covered this angle! This is seriously under reported and needs to be put out there for discussion.

    Kudos for your courage.

  3. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Far be it from me as a lifelong Missouri resident and Mizzou fan to defend anything kU but….

    You could substitute any sports franchise/fanbase in for kU in that story and the overall point would remain the same. kU and it’s fans are no different from any other. The same held true at Nebraska in the 90’s when they were winning at a high rate, and anything Dr. Tom did was excused, no matter how morally corrupt. (see Lawrence Phillips). Hell there’s a contingent of Penn State fans who will defend Joe Paterno to this day.

    • Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

      Guy, my girlfriend and 3 other buddies went to the last MU/KU football game at Arrowhead. I had my KU swag on and everybody else was decked out in MU attire as they are huge Tiger fans. Towards the end of the game, a row of MU fans behind us started tossing popcorn at me. After numerous attempts to get them to stop, we just decided that it was time to go. As we were heading up the stairs past these guys, I was told in no uncertain terms what I could do with my KU gear. The last of our group up the stairs was my good friend who is a retired Colonel in the US Army Special Forces. He leaned over to the ring leader and put a thumb somewhere around the guys collar bone/neck area, applied just enough pressure to get his undivided attention and stated that he was an embarrassment to all MU fans everywhere.

      All schools have “those” guys as part of their fan base. They didn’t represent the MU fans I proudly call my friends. I’ve known my fair share of KU fans that embarrass me.

      • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

        Doesn’t suprise me in the least. And in my opinion, the kU/MU rivalry had become unhealthy for a large contingent of fans on both sides. I really don’t miss it at all, and that’s the God’s honest truth.

        • admin says:


          And a little surprising – to me anyway – that some KU fans are so willing to overlook serious transgressions and blame any criticism on MU fans.

          Looks to me like MU has its hands full just looking into the mirror everyday, let alone worrying about however many year-old rivalries!

        • Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

          I miss it from a strictly personal point of view. My extended “crew’ is made up of about 50/50 KU and MU fans. So, I miss the ribbing and good-natured trash talking that went on. But, it has always been the healthy rivalry that you mentioned. Now, it’s more like apathy.

      • The Word says:

        “You could substitute any sports franchise/fanbase in for kU in that story and the overall point would remain the same.”

        You can even say that about smaller school athletics right now.

        Ask any other fan from an MIAA school about Northwest Missouri State and Pitt State football fans.

        • admin says:

          But do those teams have players trashing women’s cars, slapping them around and when they get called on it blame it on the other school’s sports fans, Word?

    • admin says:

      As a former sports zealot, I never really crossed over to the dark side, Guy Who Says…

      I was obsessed to the extent that I was to watch and follow the teams – including traveling to games from time to time – but I never ceded the moral high ground.

      That’s kinda what I don’t understand fully

  4. paulwilsonkc says:

    Moral, social and intellectual dysfunction affects your life.
    Or… your “game.”
    Sometimes chickens come home to roost.

  5. admin says:

    Thinking about MU fans that were waaaaaay over the top reminds me of the Antlers…

    Come to think of it, haven’t heard much about them in recent year in the post KU era.

    Plus, it’s gotta be challenging trying to keep a sports rivalry alive when you’re getting your clock cleaned by teams like UMKC!

  6. Roos Fan says:

    At 2:49 PM, admin posts…”I was obsessed to the extent that I was to watch and follow the teams – but I never ceded the moral high ground.”

    At 2:52 PM, admin posts…”it’s gotta be challenging trying to keep a sports rivalry alive when you’re getting your clock cleaned by teams like UMKC!”

    I bet it never gets lonely in that head of yours.

  7. Kerouac says:

    “The Trouble With KU Fans”

    – is a drop in a midwest bucket compared the sins of new england patriots fandom, latter the place/culture where cheating/questionable behavior variously to include management and players team legacy, end justifying the means… no problem.

    The usual suspect(s) rationale: “We won. All that matters. Check the scoreboard (and your scruples at the door). Just look at the record book! The greatest ever!” cry they.

    Ok. Let’s have a look.

    5 World Championships won in a 17 year period by the new england patriots is greater than 5 World Championships won in a 7 year period by the Green Bay Packers?

    Nope. So much for ‘the greatest’ pleas. Takes care of that faux claim. So much too for those that worship an team’s deeds constitute an rap sheet unmatched the annals pro football:

    From deflate-gate (rigging equipment), deception-gate (bending the rules re: eligible players), spy-gate (illegally videotaping opposition), tuck-gate (when a fumble is ‘not’ a fumble), snowplow-gate (an convicted burglar/team employee drives machine onto field to clear a swath for what becomes a winning kick), and all the while in the midst murderer (who caught a td pass/was their leading receiver Superbowl game before he was caught, well… doing what the patriots rap sheet affirms they do, regularly.)

    This afore even broaching the subject of patriot fan’dumb’ turning on a fire alarm middle of the night opposition’s hotel, or mysterious technical glitches with (only) opposition team’s headsets on various occasions, when visiting new england. Trix aren’t just for kids any more… good sportsmanship is for suckers, modern day.

    * new england patriots and fandom

  8. Orphan of the Road says:

    How about Penn State fans?

    BIL played for Lehigh University, a Walter Camp Little All-American whose photo intercepting a Penn State pass was on the front page of the NYT’s sports page. Pre-Paterno by a year or two he had stories of the bad sportsmanship of that team.

    Administration told a Pennsylvania Senate Committee investigating them for illegal payments to players and other violations was told they have no authority over the team. Legally they were correct.

    Tom Bill was THE quarterback for Paterno. Drinking a six-pack in the shower after practice (19) and continual confrontations because of his drinking were of no concern.

    Until he couldn’t win games. Then he was release and told don’t-let-the-door-hit-ya-where-the-good-lord-split-ya.

    Chickens came home to roost when they joined the Big 10. As an independent they had no fellow conference members to spy on them and keep them straight. So lots of stuff went unreported.

    Of course a cesspool environment doesn’t deter players or coaches or administrators. Jumping ship from a disgraced MU athletic department right to Baylor.

    Bless Ken Star’s blue-dress obsessed heart.

    Fan is a derivative of fanatic, so there’s that.

    The real story today is how fantasy football players have ruined the sport for real fans. And how that is loved by the NFL while they pretend it isn’t gambling.

    K, at least that is at the pro level in a league which was begat with seed money from Al Capone.

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