Thursday, March 25, 2010

Investigative Report: Cornell Fanbase and the Purchase of Cornell Merchandise Spikes in the Louisville Area

This might be the most generic shirt I have ever seen. Ball in the Hoop. Score.

After reading the comments under my I'm Sick of Cornell post I started to wonder something: from where did these Cornell fans appear? Some of the posters were extreme advocates for Cornell basketball and seemed to be emotionally involved whether or not Cornell wins or loses. This question vexed me, so I decided to do some field reporting.

I went to the Jefferson Mall to scope out the area and see what I could find. Sure enough I spotted some Cornell "fans" wandering in front of Hot Topic. They were two males between the ages of 20 and 30. They each had red flat billed hats with a big white "C" in the middle. They were wearing matching colored red shorts and red shirts that were too big from them and all white Air Force One shoes. I approached them and began questioning them.

I asked them what the "C" on their hats stood for and they answered, "Cornell". I asked them where they got the hats and they pointed to a kiosk at the other end of the mall. I then asked them if they could name a player on Cornell's team. Negative. I then asked them what four teams Cornell lost to this season. No idea. I asked them if they knew where Cornell was. Not a clue. I asked them why they were wearing Cornell hats. Answer: "Because they are playing Kentucky". I had my first clue to solve the case.

As I made my way down to the kiosk I started to see even more Cornell gear. A man in front of me was wearing a white t-shirt with the words "The scariest words in college basketball: The Big Red" airbrushed on the back of it. That shirt looked familiar to me and I then realized where I had seen it's likeness before.

I saw yet another shirt that was familiar to me. It had a Steve Donahue iron-on that read "The God Father" and on the back of the shirt it said "Hit List". The "Hit List" included Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Brown and at the bottom...Kentucky. All of the school's names had been crossed out except Kentucky's. I had seen this shirt before. The original had a picture of Rick Pitino on the front and the Big East competition was on the "Hit List" as well as Kentucky. Another piece had just fallen into place.

I finally reached my destination. The kiosk was small but had plenty of Cornell flat bills and airbrushed shirts. The Steve Donahue shirt was there as well. All of it was either airbrushed or iron-on. I asked the man that was running the kiosk where he got all of the merchandise. He admitted that he made all of it himself. He just bought a bunch of plain red flat billed hats and sewed a cheap "C" on the front. He airbrushed and did the iron-on shirts all by himself in his basement.

I asked him when the demand for Cornell gear had spiked and he replied, "As soon as people heard they were playing Kentucky." I asked him if it mattered that the stuff was so cheaply made and he said that it did not. He was charging $35 for a hat and $25 for one of the shirts. People did not mind paying the prices. I asked him if any of the people that were buying the merchandise knew anything about Cornell besides the fact that they are an Ivy League team and they were playing Kentucky. He replied, "Well, no, not really. They seem to have no idea what the mascot really is or where Cornell is even located. I guess since they can no longer cheer for Louisville in the tournament that they might as well cheer on whoever is playing the Wildcats."

It all made sense to me now. I then asked him if most of the people buying his products were Louisville fans and he said, "Yes. Almost all of them are. There are some IU fans sprinkled here and there, but I'd say 95% are Louisville fans." I had all the information that I needed and thanked him. I asked him one final question,"What are you going to do if Kentucky beats Cornell?"

"I'll start selling West Virginia or Washington stuff. That merchandise will be easier to get. I won't have to make it myself. This is a good way to earn some easy money. These people will cheer for any team not named Kentucky!" I thanked him and made my way home. As I was leaving I saw two gentlemen high-five each other and exclaim "Go Big Red!" One thing I can say is that at least the Cornell colors are similar to that of Louisville's.

Real Analysis to come later.

14 comments:

  1. I like the investigative piece. It seems like you went to a lot of trouble to get to the bottom of this though. As for the guy selling the Cornell merchandise, I'm pretty sure that is illegal (there are copyrights on school logos). As for the morons buying it, they are probably IU fans.

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  2. I reported this man to the proper authorities. his kiosk has been shut down.

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  3. Just based on seeing the students comments all over the internet and hearing about the high suicide rate at Cornell, I would venture to say that they would trade places with a 1-and-done in a blink of an eye.

    No fault to Wall, Cousins, or Bledsoe for not being forced to be miserable.

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  4. Speaking of stupid t-shirts, try this one on for size: http://www.kentuckycollectibles.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=33_34&products_id=17

    Woo hoo, they are now discounted to $4.99!!

    Question, if his time at UK was an "Era", what was Pitino's or Tubby's time considered?

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  5. Pitino and Tubby's time were both considered eras. Eras that led to national Championships. Something that Louisville hasn't seen since the Crum era. To be more specific, 24 years ago. The 1986 Anniversary is coming soon!

    When it's all said and done what will the Pitino era t-shirt at Louisville say?

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  6. Oh, so Eras result in championships? Then I guess UK was a little premature with their Gillispie shirts then, huh?

    Every team has made stupid t-shirts, so to criticize everyone else just looks bad on you. I'd love to see your commentary if UK loses to a so-called "inferior" opponent. What would your objective analysis be?

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  7. Besides, I didn't say that eras always ended in championships, I pointed out the the Pitino and Tubby era did.

    And yes they are an inferior team. Even you should be able to acknowledge that. I'm sure your new found love for Cornell will be shattered and then you will become an avid WVU or Washington fan.

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  8. Now Boogiewoogie, pay attention. I never once said that I am a fan of Cornell. All I'm doing is pointing out that despite what you think, UK does have their faults as well.

    Based on the posts, you should just call this site Pro-UK, Anti-U of L because that's what it is.

    If U of L were still in the tournament and UK was out, would there even be any articles on the Cards? Or at least positive ones?

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  9. I would still cover UofL. I even wrote some very positive things about them here http://sportsthat.blogspot.com/2010/03/one-thing-that-cards-and-cats-fans.html and here http://sportsthat.blogspot.com/2010/03/college-basketball-round-up-part-1.html.

    We have UofL writers on here, they just don't post as much as the UK writers. T-Ferg, Favre4Ever and Craig are all UofL fans. I understand your frustration Dunkface, I like to write things in humorous ways that engage conversation. The conversation may not always be intelligent but at least it's entertaining. 'm an unaplogetic UK fan and have biased tendancies but at least I'm honest about it. Besides, it's all in good fun.

    You hear that guys? Our readers want more from the UofL side of things so we need to give it to them!

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  10. Why can't those UL fans also be Cornell students/graduates/fans? Are you saying that Jeff Mall wouldn't be fit for Cornell people?

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  11. That is exactly what I am saying Monster Mash.

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  12. My piece on Kuric and the Freedom Hall finale is still forthcoming, and it will be breathtaking.

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  13. I am looking forward to it T-Ferg.

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  14. Julesster22@yahoo.comMarch 25, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    your logo should be that blonde kid pissing on the uofl cardinal......Boogie!!

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