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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Why Are We Like This?

No matter if you are a fan of UK or a fan of a rival school, you have to admit that UK fans are some of the most unique in the country in their fanhood.  They go to greater lengths and at greater costs to learn everything they can, and feel a part of the program.  Some people would call that insane, and we call it passion.  But why exactly are we the way we are?  What has made this fanbase so passionate about the college team we follow?  I have knocked it down to 4 major and 1 minor thing:

1) THE STATE ITSELF

-Let’s be honest, in the grand scheme of the 50 states, Kentucky has very little going for it compared to most.  We basically have two “major” cities in Lexington and Louisville, zero professional sports teams, a declining horse industry, and a large chunk of the state is rural.  Point is, there is not a lot of things to get involved in with the state of Kentucky.  Which is why so many people turn their attention to UK sports.  It is there year-round, if you included recruiting.  It really has no competition inside state borders (besides UL) sports-wise.  The state is a perfect scenario for extreme passion of one major school, and Kentucky happens to be it.

2) THE OTHER SCHOOLS IN THE STATE

-Yes, WKU and EKU and Morehead State and Murray State are Division-1 programs.  But in reality, Louisville is the only program that can even sniff the fanbase that Kentucky has.  And even for that program, the fanbase is basically confined to 1 county.  The other 119 counties are dominated by Kentucky.  Even in North Carolina, there is UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, and NC State all there to split the population.  Indiana has IU, Purdue, and Notre Dame, not to mention to expanding Butler fanbase.  Point being, there isn’t any serious competition to the actual number of UK fans.

3) WINNING

-Simply put, if UK hadn’t won so big for so long, the fanbase wouldn’t be there.  We don’t just follow the program because of pride of our state school.  We follow because they reward us with wins.  Now, if Kentucky went on a 10-year long string of missing the NCAA Tournament, would the fanbase leave?  I don’t know.  The fanhood might be too embedded in the people for that to happen, but what built this fanbase so large and passionate was wins and more wins.

4) FAMILY

-Families take pride in their UK fanhood in this state.  When Kentucky wins, fans feel like they win and their life is better.  When Kentucky loses, fans feels like their life is a little worse.  It is an extreme passion, but with that passion also comes the act of passing down and teaching that passion to the children.  The love of UK is a family trait in this state.  I know for a fact there are fathers (and mothers) out there who will, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE, allow their children to support any team other than Kentucky.  I can’t tell you how many stories I had emailed to me that started with “my grandfather took me to see Player X or Coach X”.  I just don’t know if other fanbases have that kind of family heritage that Kentucky has.

5) KSR

-That’s right.  Without KSR, there would be no fanbase.

OK, there are my five/four criteria for what makes UK fans the way they are.  What other keys am I missing?  Or can it be pinned down to just a couple points?  Does everybody have their own reasons for being as crazy and passionate as they are?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

19 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Why Are We Like This?



  1. runningunnin.454
    8:45 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

    So Kentucky has little going for it, LOL. You obviously don’t camp out, hunt, fish, hike, enjoy water sports, or otherwise enjoy the beauty of our state. I wouldn’t live in N.Y., Chicago, L.A., or similar cities if they gave them to me.
    Another thing, if you took the average citizen from those cities, and put them in the wild, less than 2% would be able to survive.



    • 4everblue
      8:53 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

      Also why Kentuckians can no longer enjoy our lakes. Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake are both overrun with Hoosiers and Buckeyes.



    • runningunnin.454
      9:28 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

      Ha Ha, need a two week hunting season on Hoosiers and Buckeyes.



    • Eazy
      5:12 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

      Kentucky isn’t that rural really. 26th in population but if you go be people per square mile we are in the top 20. Kansas, Nebraska etc are way more unpopulated. But you’re right about Kentucky being beautiful with a lot to do. We are also close to a lot of big cities…Cincinnati, Indy, Nashville.



  2. 4everblue
    8:58 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

    I think also it is the us agains the world mentality we have grown accustomed to. We win in spite of the poor one sided officiating and unlike Duke we always get the toughest draw in the NCAA tournament. There are rules and guidelines for UK and there are rules and guidelines (or the lack of) for everyone else….just saying’…



  3. shelby
    8:59 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

    Kinda took a shot at our state there lol. The fact that much of the state is rural is one of the best things about it. Also, u give a lot of credit to KSR. We had an enormous, rabid fan base
    LONG before KSR came around. And we’ll have it after KSR is gone.



    • 4everblue
      9:26 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

      Yeah I’ve been a fan since the late 50’s when we had to listen on the radio, the fanbase was huge then….pretty sure KSR or anyone affiliated with it was not around back then!



    • Blue Jesus
      9:52 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

      He was being kind of tongue-in-cheek about the KSR bit, and I get that the fan base was there long before Matt and the gang came around, but you have to admit this website (and radio show and TV show and the social media platforms, etc.) plays a big role in modern fandom. Compared to the Herald Leader, Courier Journal, or Rupp Rafters it’s certainly the most influential platform covering UK, and I don’t know of any comparable site for other college OR professional teams (there may well be one, I’m just not familiar with it). KSR can almost single-handedly swing fan opinion on a coach, or increase interest in a team (like we saw recently with baseball). If KSR weren’t around the fan base would still be here, of course, but things would be completely different, for better and worse, without the unifying factor of this entity: different inside jokes, more diverse reactions to games/players/coaches, less exposure to players’ personalities, you name it.



    • Eazy
      5:15 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. Kentucky has a good mix of rural and city life. We are close to population centers and have natural beauty. KY has 7 D1 schools btw. Kansas and Nebraska only have 3. So we are bigger than you’d think. Plus Cincinnati pro sports are basically Kentucky too.



  4. thecorbinbrown
    9:15 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

    You forgot NKU…..



  5. ukkatzfan
    9:44 am June 21, 2017 Permalink

    BTI, we can tell you wouldnt make a good hunter. By saying there is nothing to do in Ky, you just shot yourself in the foot.



  6. wesmorgan1
    1:11 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

    I think we’re just more “sports crazy” than are most states.

    Think about it – with a population of roughly 4 million (most of whom live well outside the state’s three largest cities), we support not only the 7 NCAA D1 programs, but also around 20 D2/D3/NAIA programs, NASCAR, ARCA and NHRA racing (the latter at Beech Bend in Bowling Green), four minor league baseball teams (Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green, Florence), two minor league soccer teams (Louisville FC and Derby City Rovers)…heck, you can even find PBA and PWBA pro bowling in Kentucky…

    There’s a lot of quality there, too – consider that in March 2017, we saw EIGHTEEN Kentucky programs playing postseason hoops across men’s (1 NAIA D2 – Union College won it all, 3 NAIA D1, 1 NCAA D3, 2 NCAA D2, 2 NCAA D1) and women’s (4 NAIA D1, 1 NCAA D3, 1 NCAA D2, 3 NCAA D1) divisions.

    Given that we’re in the bottom half of the 50 states by population, that’s a LOT of action across the sports world…and we haven’t even touched upon the high school traditions across the state.



    • wesmorgan1
      1:15 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

      Make that NINETEEN hoops teams in postseason play last year – I forgot that Morehead went to the women’s NIT.



    • Eazy
      5:10 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

      True, but Kentucky is 26th in population. It’s not like we are near the bottom. Alabama is very similar in population and sports success.



  7. EdC
    5:05 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

    Well you’r a real turd in the punch bowl aren’t you?



  8. Eazy
    5:17 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

    Kentucky is 26th in population. You make it sound like we are Nebraska or something. We are near major cities and have all kinds of outdoor activities to do. We have 7 d1 programs and more success than most bigger states, too.



    • Eazy
      5:48 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

      Also, there aren’t many states with multiple national title winning basketball schools. You mentioned Purdue and ND but they have 0 titles. ND used to be good in football, though. Lol. Kansas has no rival in their state. We love to knock Louisville but KY and NC are the only states with two top 10 all time programs. And Kentucky has a lot more going for it than Kansas. Trust me..I grew up in KC.



    • wesmorgan1
      6:08 pm June 21, 2017 Permalink

      I think you missed my point – I was suggesting that we support more IN-STATE sports programs/teams/facilities than might otherwise be expected. That’s especially true since we are, as you note, within driving distance of MLB, NFL, NHL and MLS franchises…but “near major cities” doesn’t matter when we’re talking about IN-STATE sports, right?

      Sure, Alabama has a comparable list – but they also have roughly 400K more people and more than twice as many cities with population above 50,000 as does Kentucky. (9 to Kentucky’s 4) Those demographics make a big difference.



    • wesmorgan1
      11:41 am June 22, 2017 Permalink

      Eazy, if we’re going to count national championship teams…

      UK: 8 NCAA D1 men’s titles
      UL: 3 NCAA D1 men’s titles (for now), 1 NAIA men’s title
      Kentucky Wesleyan: 8 NCAA D2 men’s titles (across 5 decades!)
      Kentucky State: 3 (consecutive!) NAIA D1 men’s titles, 1 NAIA D1 women’s title
      Georgetown: 2 NAIA D1 men’s titles
      Northern Kentucky: 2 NCAA D2 women’s titles
      Thomas More: 2 NCAA D3 women’s titles (one vacated)
      Bellarmine: 1 NCAA D2 men’s title
      Pikeville: 1 NAIA D1 men’s title
      Union: 1 NAIA D2 men’s title

      LOTS of banners hanging across Kentucky…