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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Do You Handle Cheering for Your Non-UK Alma Mater?

(Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


(Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It became readily apparent to me last night that I am getting old.  I did my best to stay up and watch the WKU-UK volleyball game that was supposed to start at 10pm and started what felt like around 3am.  But after seeing the first game and the pretty clear difference in talent between the two schools, I called it night.  I’ve got a kid.  And a job.  I ain’t staying up until bars close to watch volleyball.  Or any sport for that matter.

But as a Western Kentucky graduate these clashes between the Tops and Cats are always awkward for me.  That was probably Western’s greatest volleyball team in school history.  They came into the game undefeated and having just knocked off a national seed.  I interviewed their coach, Travis Hudson, a couple times during my work at the campus TV station way back when and found him to be a very welcoming, great man.  I knew a few of the volleyball players and they were some of the more fun group of athletes on campus.  So I’ve always found myself rooting for the Topper volleyball team.

But of course, UK is MY team.  Grew up with them, fought for them, write on a blog for them for over a decade.

So how does everybody handle this situation?  On the one hand, you have your alma mater.  In some ways, WKU has always been a little brother to Kentucky.  Even when I went there, the Tops wanted to play UK in football and basketball so much and rarely were granted those opportunities.  Still the case today.  I came to WKU the year after Patrick Sparks left for UK and I can tell you that stung the Hilltopper fanbase quite a bit.  As a sports nut, I cheered for everything WKU during my 4 years there and have followed the school ever since.  The Courtney Lee-2008 WKU team might be my favorite college basketball team.  Sorry Cats fans.

But how do I reconcile that with my love for the Cats?  UK also has its greatest volleyball team ever and one that could legitimately win the national title.  WKU wasn’t going to be able to do that.  Same goes with much of anything.  When WKU and UK played in the NCAA Tournament in 2012, I was there.  And felt the whole time I didn’t know where my rooting interests lied.  A 16-seed WKU squad beating mighty UK would have been the greatest moment in WKU history.  But that UK team was going to win the national title.  How do you decide? 

So what is the strategy?  For those who didn’t attend UK, how do you handle when your alma mater plays UK?  Especially if your alma mater is a mid-major school like WKU where beating UK would always be reason to celebrate.  And if in this one scenario I cheer for my alma mater over the Cats, is that acceptable.  Or is being a Cats fan mean in all circumstances till you die?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

10 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: How Do You Handle Cheering for Your Non-UK Alma Mater?

  1. DoubleB65
    10:10 am April 19, 2021 Permalink

    As a WKU alum when The Tops play UK in any sport I’m always pulling for Western. I’m for UK every other time. Honestly though when the two play it’s a game that on a personal level I can’t lose no matter which team wins.

  2. Wilfred Smith
    10:42 am April 19, 2021 Permalink

    Murray State – I have never had to, but it would be UK.

  3. RealCatsFan
    10:59 am April 19, 2021 Permalink

    My daughter attends WKU. But I had to pull for the Cats last night because this is the one year that they legitimately have a chance to win a championship.

    But the fact that the NCAA chose to put both UK and WKU on a path to meet so early in the tournament makes me hate them that much more. WKU got screwed on those brackets, as did the fans in our Commonwealth.

  4. RealCatsFan
    11:10 am April 19, 2021 Permalink

    The fact that Brad Stevens turned down that offer from IU makes me seriously doubt that he would take a similar offer from UK.

    • IndianaSucks
      12:20 pm April 19, 2021 Permalink


    • Richd23
      4:52 pm April 20, 2021 Permalink

      I am a Murray State grad. Though Murray and UK have never played each other in basketball, I separate it this way. If Murray played UK in the regular season, I would root for Murray. If they met in the NCAA tournament I would want UK to win because I want them to.pass UCLA and get some distance between them and Duke/UNC.

  5. Bigblueswami
    11:36 am April 19, 2021 Permalink

    NKU Grad…. my point of view in basketball anyway is always “Hope UK wins and NKU has a respectable showing and doesn’t get blown out.”

  6. kuhlkat
    12:41 pm April 19, 2021 Permalink

    Careful. You may get fired for mentioning the volleyball team on this site. Shhhh

  7. kyfanem
    1:54 pm April 19, 2021 Permalink

    I graduated from WKU and live in BG but the smug WKU fans that actually think they are on UK’s level makes me not cheer for WKU. Go Cats!

  8. CatBlue in LR
    12:10 am April 20, 2021 Permalink

    My alma mater, Abilene Christian, played UK in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. I posted how could the committee do that to me? But come game time, I was all Big Blue (partially because I knew ACU had no shot). This year, when ACU made our 2nd D-I tournament ever, I wasn’t at all conflicted and rooted hard as they stunned Texas.