What it means to me to be a "Walmart Wolverine"

Submitted by Plegerize on August 9th, 2009 at 7:48 PM

(Note: This has been bothering me for some time; spending my time in college I  find myself coming across this more and more.)

I was at a friend’s costume party in East Lansing about a month ago, surrounded by Sparties and the like, when a fellow UofM fan walked in wearing Michigan memorabilia. I naturally walked over and told her I was also a UofM fan much to the other Spartans’ chagrin.

This became an issue throughout the night, however, when we would talk smack and go back and forth with the other Sparties. Arguing with them was an easy task-- as it always is because they really have nothing on us except for one victory in over 7 years-- but then they pulled out a wildcard of sorts. Something so diabolical yet really stupid that it boils my blood and grinds my gears every time I hear a fan of another team use it: I was only a “Walmart Wolverine”.

Now I happen to be a Central Michigan University student (and the UofM fan-girl was a State student) but I was born and LIVED in Ann Arbor my entire 20 years of existence. I have more history in that town than most students of the actual school have. I could’ve gone to Michigan for my undergrad; I graduated with highest honors from high school and know plenty of people from my graduating class who did choose to go to Michigan, but because I am paying for my own schooling, I could not afford their tuition.

I bleed maize and blue, I have always had a passion for Michigan sports and it pains me that I cannot go to school there. That being said, for someone to have the nerve to come up to me and question my fan hood just because I don’t go to the school is just straight out bullshit.

It is by far the dumbest argument I have ever had to face: “You don’t go to school there, you’re not a student, so therefore you cannot be a fan!”

Fuck you!* Have you ever worked for the Detroit Tigers? You haven’t? Well you aren’t associated with them, therefore you can’t be a fan. I just can’t imagine what these morons say to other State fans (or other fans of other schools) who didn’t go to their school. Walmart Spartan? I mean the logical argument works for all teams spanning across all fans.

Didn’t play soccer or live in Europe? Can’t be a soccer fan.

Never been to a hockey game? Can’t be a hockey fan.

Did you ever play for the Detroit Pistons? No? Well can’t be a fan of them either.

Of course some people might try to say that the fallacy in my argument with other sports, such as professional sports, is that you can be a fan of the said team because you live in the region.

But then they just proved their own argument wrong that I can’t be a Michigan fan because I lived in Ann Arbor my entire life, thereby associating myself with the local team.

I apologize that I am not a Michigan student nor on my way to becoming an Alumnus to the school. I apologize that I lived near the campus my entire life and chose to follow them instead of some other school that I have no local/familiar ties to. I’m just straight up sorry that your best argument to try to deface my fan hood has no logic to it. But say what you have to say, I will always root for the maize and blue, even if it means being a “Walmart Wolverine”.


*I apologize for the profanity. It is there for emphasis and nothing more.



August 9th, 2009 at 9:53 PM ^

Will be hard to come by. Best thing to do for grad school would be to go the GSI or research assistant job, don't know what your majoring in, but it's a good way to pay for your education. I earned my masters in engineering by being a "research assistant" which basically meant I was writing software for a couple of professors. Tuition was waived plus a monthly paycheck.

Durham Blue

August 9th, 2009 at 8:04 PM ^

if it wasn't for the so-called Walmart Wolverine contingent, the Michigan athletic department would not be nearly as financially successful as it is today. This alum thanks the many thousands of great fans out there that support UM athletics.

And I fucking accept your apologies ;-)


August 9th, 2009 at 8:04 PM ^

This "argument" is coming out more and more. I worked with this one schmuck who insisted he had the right to be a die-hard Spartan only because his sister attended there. After a while you understand they are making up grade-school style rules as they go. These are the same idiots who love to point out all the rednecks seen in Michigan T-shirts. It's an inferiority complex, really. I feel like I can be a good judge of this because I'm not blinded by hate. I actually like the Spartans, just to a lesser degree than the Wolverines.


August 9th, 2009 at 8:10 PM ^

according to the website it means:

1) you have a mullet


2) you are fat


3) you have a blue collar job


4) you are someone who wears Michigan paraphernalia

so basically almost any fan is a "Walmart Wolverine".


August 9th, 2009 at 8:11 PM ^

You can't reason with some green and white farmer who is more inebriated than the average OSU fan. Its like trying to teach a monkey to appreciate mozart, it can't happen.


August 9th, 2009 at 8:13 PM ^

I was born in New Mexico and live in Germany, but have been a Michigan fan since I can remember. My family is from Michigan, and I remember going to games with my grandfather as a kid. There is a level though, because of the stature of the school, that people assume because you're a fan who lives somewhere else, that you're some sort of pseudo-bandwagonist. (Yes, I know that's not a real word) Especially in good years for the team.

Oddly enough though, I don't get the same comments about my Lions gear.

The King of Belch

August 9th, 2009 at 8:20 PM ^

First of all, learn to laugh at yourself. The reason I say that is because Sparties, mostly, advance this argument as a way to call UM fans "front-runners"--mostly people who grew up in Michigan and picked Michigan to root for because the Wolverines were so successful over the last 40 years. Of course, a lot of Sparties who never went to MSU, but became fans of MSU during the Biggie Munn/Duffy Daugherty days also argue against the so-called "Wal Mart Wolverine." As always, the Sparty lives on the double standard, and wherever you go, on every message board you co-exist with them, the Sparty is the ONLY fan who asks the question of why you are a UM fan if you didn't attend Michigan. Part of it is that most Sparty message board guys, if not all, purport to be grads of MSU. I, being a cynic, call "bullshit." It's the intranets, where somehow the odds are bucked, and fully 178% of the posters are college graduates (whereas statistics will tell you that only about 25% of American adults over 25 have college degrees).

I have a simple definition of a Wal Mart Wolverine, and they disgust me (I'm not a UM grad, BTW): The guy who dresses in UM gear from head to toe, is a huge fan, never went there (or any college), but is the FIRST to yap about the cheatin' ways of other schools, the rap sheets of athletes at other schools, and (this is the kicker) UM's "high academic standards" which are "higher" than anybody else's.

You know what? I don't know shit about UM's academic standards. I have a belief that they are high, that it is a fantastic place to get an education; but I haven't a fucking CLUE as to any curriculum, expectations, how tough it is to graduate from there. In fact, I ONLY know that UM's base admissions standards for Athletes are the same as the NCAA's are (and I'm fine with that).

As for the other sutff, I'm with the poster who says so-called Wal Mart Wolverines sign the paychecks of not just Michigan athletics, but ANY college's athletics department. Fan away, Wal Mart away--the Universities need the support of anyone who wishes to support them. Even Sparties.


August 10th, 2009 at 10:18 AM ^

You sir, have hit the nail on the head. If there is one thing I have seen lately, it is that not everyone has the opportunity to attend a good school like Michigan, whether it is for academic or financial reasons. This should not disqualify them from being able to cheer for the school that directly represents the state in which they live.

One thing that really grinds my gears is when people lump together all the fans who did not attend, calling them Wal-Mart wolverines, which is pretty derogatory. The people being described as Wal-Mart wolverines should not be persecuted because they "didn't even go to Michigan." They should be persecuted because they are belligerent morons. There are plenty of non-alums who don't fit that description.


August 9th, 2009 at 8:25 PM ^

State fans make fun of "Wal-Mart Wolverines" because their school isn't popular enough that people without a direct connection are fans. Oooh, I'm so insulted.


August 9th, 2009 at 8:35 PM ^

This doesn't answer your question, but it's related to your post. I've often heard Walmart Wolverines say that they would have attended Michigan, but couldn't afford it so they went somewhere cheaper. If you are in-state, this strikes me as a ruse for not getting in.

According to their tuition websites, 4 years at Michigan will run you roughly the same as at Central for in-state students.


However, if you did go to a lesser school on a scholarship, I can assure you your career opportunities are not as extensive as if you had paid for the Michigan degree.

I've worked at some of the top firms in both Finance and Engineering, and they simply do not recruit at schools that are not in the top 30ish, unless you are an underrepresented minority. The increase in salary will pay back your extra Michigan costs in two years after graduation.


August 9th, 2009 at 9:17 PM ^

Well to refute the whole tuition being equal thing, when I enrolled at CMU they had a program called The CMU Promise which froze all enrolled student's tuition at a set rate for the following 5 years. My tuition now for the next 3 years (4 if you include the extra year, but I am graduating in 4 years) will be $304 per credit hour.

Unfortunately they don't have that program anymore (I was grandfathered in), but you can imagine with tuition being frozen, it can save a good amount of money over the course of a college career.

I am also majoring in secondary education, so in terms of degree prestige, they kinda level out.


August 9th, 2009 at 10:31 PM ^

I'll always be a Wolverine fan, because I have family in AA and have been attending games since I was a kid. It gets into your blood, as I'm sure all of you know.

When it came time for college, I was accepted at every state school, but went to Western for two reasons:
- better program (WMU has won the national college theatre competition more than any other MI school)
- scads of money in academic scholarships, so much that I got a check every semester after paying for tuition, rent, board, books and fees. (UM offered me a half-ride.)

So, I got a free ride plus beer money to go to a better program. I'm still a true blue UM fan, though, because some part of me will always be a 12 year-old walking into the Big House for the first time.


August 9th, 2009 at 8:56 PM ^

as you Plegerize. I went to Adrian College and then graduated from Western Michigan. My dad and his whole side of the family is from Ann Arbor. I grew up Down I-94 in Grass Lake but a lot of my life was spent in Ann Arbor. I will always be described by my friends and everyone new I encounter as "The biggest Michigan Fan they've ever met or know!" I'll be in the stands on Sept. 5th dressed in my Maize and Blue gear rooting for my Wolverine to stomp my alma mater. I'll always bleed Maize and Blue so F**K the haters!

Also, I've always heard that the comeback to sparties "Walmart Wolverines" line is "So why is it that all your fan are students, alumni, and relatives?"

steve sharik

August 9th, 2009 at 8:44 PM ^

is a Spartan fan during basketball season. And "true" Spartan fans know it.

Hey, Spartina, you can't bitch about not getting as much publicity and respect as your big brother and then rip on the people who would be your fans if you did.


August 9th, 2009 at 8:55 PM ^

Being a michigan fan in ohio, I always get the obligitory "how can you live in ohio and be a michigan fan?" My answer is always either b/c I have class. (If the guy is prickish about it, that usually hurts their feelings as well I find) or, I didn't realize there was some kind of residency requirement. Either answer tends to stump them for a second or two.


August 9th, 2009 at 9:00 PM ^

To echo West Coast Wolverine, you need a fanbase larger than your alumni base. In fact, I love it when people support Michigan, especially when they have no academic ties to the University. To me, a fan is a fan, as long as they're not fair weather.

Interstingly, I'm not from Michigan, nor was I a "die-hard" fan of Michigan athletics until I enrolled. Now I read mgoblog religiously, and would prefer to see the Wolverines win a national championship in football than see my beloved (but horrible) Mets win the World Series- and that's saying a lot.


August 9th, 2009 at 9:03 PM ^

Agreed. Sorry if I smoked pot all through high school and got a 2.7 and 30. That's not getting into UM (I'll be attending WMU next year) but that doesn't make me any less of a fan.

The King of Belch

August 10th, 2009 at 4:54 AM ^

It's a small penance. I mean, without the pot, you probably wouldn't have gotten a 30 on your ACT. More like a 14 or something. So do the time at WMU and then go to Ann Arbor, listen to lots of Steely Dan, bang the ugly smart chicks because a lot of times they get way better looking as they age and make 6 figure incomes because of their UM degrees and stuff. And hell, there's cosmetic surgery and boob jobs.

I mean, yeah, the future waitresses and bank tellers at MSU are hotter and there are more of them, but trust me--if you marry for looks and love--you'll be bored, divorced, broke, and paying child support for four future trailer park residents by the time you're 30.

I never understood the "UM has ugly chicks" thing. My wife is an Electrical Engineer and if you look at a picture of her from her college days, holy shit, it's frightening. But at 42? Holy fucking shit!

And pretty much all my buddies who married the MSU "hotties" (or were just later slapped with paternity suits by them)--well, at least Sparty won last year's game! LOLZ

A tree

August 9th, 2009 at 9:18 PM ^

Throughout my student career and now life as an alumnus I always interpreted the term as an unsophisticated fair weather fan(see: the guy that sold his fanhood on ebay last year). I think it takes a lot of ego to say that just because I went to Michigan im a better fan than anybody else. At work there's this guy that hadn't met an alumnus all his life before me and hes been following the wolverines all his life, will drop facts and history at a moments notice and just blow me away with his insight. So really, dont let sparties define you.

Surprised no one has posted this hilarious entry by the WLA:



August 9th, 2009 at 9:26 PM ^

They're just jealous because no one who doesn't go to their school follows them. People all over the country are M fans. Only people who went to MSU root for them because they don't have a national following.


August 10th, 2009 at 1:04 PM ^

When I was at UM-D, it never felt like a separate university to the one in Ann Arbor. More like a branch of it. (one that looked and felt like a glorified community college at that) So the focus on "Wolves" sports (which are all NAIA and club level) is minimal. My life at Dearborn in regard to sports was not much different than when I moved to Ann Arbor: I went to a few football and hockey games and avoided basketball like the plague.

UM-Flint are apparently now the "Victors", fwiw.