M Alum and M Fans

Submitted by HAIL 2 VICTORS on December 24th, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I will preface this topic by sharing that I did not fullfill my lifelong dream (at this time) and ever attend Michigan. My Father is an Alum and grew up in AA (Ann Arbor High). When I was 3 his job moved him to Chicago where I grew up. Every year since 1969 (I was 4) until his death 4 years ago we attended every Michigan/OSU game in AA and at least 1 other. When my turn came for college I was offered a scholarship to SIU (Salukis) and out of state tuition in AA was impossible for me. Although I enjoyed my time at SIU it was never my dream. So I ask you the mostly Alum of Michigan (I am guessing 80/20 Alum to fan here) are passionate fans who never had the chance to attend M second class or more Prole in your eyes? I for one consider you beyond fortunate and yet still hold you in the highest regard understanding the qualifications you needed to meet to be there and the work you do to stay there. However there are many an M grad who are almost entirely clueless about both the academic or athletic history and the historical significance. If a simple fan remains loyal in good times or bad, is consistent in there passion and remains devoted in every sense do you look upon them with the same respect as those that attend/attended M?



December 24th, 2009 at 9:39 AM ^

I'm assuming you're a dude, anyway. I'd say you did the right thing in accepting the scholarship. I have fond memories of my years at UM, but I'm sure I could have had a good experience at several other schools. The tuition for out-of-state students is @#$%ing insane. Every Big 10 state (yes, including Ohio) has a decent school. For example, if I lived in Cleveland, I'd be happy sending my kids to OSU. I'd have a hard time justifying the big $ that UM would require. Club Michigan carries weight in some parts of the world, yes, but there are plenty of prosperous OSU grads out there.

To the main point, you are as much a fan and "Michigan Man" as anyone else. There is, at best, a blurry line between alums and non-alums in that area.

Aside: In my office there are two Ivy League types (one from Ohio, one from Missouri). They are both ape$h1t over OSU and Mizzou football. I've never questioned their status as fans. Certainly not proletarians...

turbo cool

December 24th, 2009 at 9:45 AM ^

Well, a lot of my friends who never attended Michigan can tell you more about the history of the program and its current state than most of my friends who attended Michigan. Granted, I love knowing that when I go to the Big House, or when i'm watching the game from wherever, I am supporting my alma mater. But Michigan attracts a lot of people, not all of them having attended so yes, I respect any Michigan fan who remains loyal and committed to the university regardless if they are an alum or not.


December 24th, 2009 at 10:00 AM ^

When I was 7 years old growing up in Colorado I was watching a Michigan game on tv with my dad. I remember telling him: "Those are the coolest helmets I've ever seen. I want to go there for college." I never imagined when I was applying to colleges that'd I would be able to attend there, especially coming from Louisiana. But it was an amazing experience and I hope my kids get to have a college experience like that (whether at Michigan or somewhere else).

Simi Maquoketa

December 24th, 2009 at 10:36 AM ^

I had a daughter reach college age a few years back. I knew she was headed that way (unlike me, she figured sleeping through classes wouldn't benefit her), and all her life I kept pushing the idea of Michigan. But she grew up in Omaha and wanted to go to a warm-weather school--and you know kids, so I gave up (and left her on the doorstep of a church. Or maybe it was a Wendy's--I can't remember).

So guess what? She's all enrolled at Tenessee--but gets cold feet at the last minute and goes to Creighton--

I'm all WHAT THE FUCK? It's fucking COLD here! Why not Michigan?

She's all Look! I can;t go there just because you are an abject failure and want to live vicariously through your children!

I'm all What the FUCK does "vicariously" mean? I just want you to go there so I can go to games cheap and pick up hot young chicks! And party in the dorms!

She's all I hate you! I hope you die soon!

Simi Maquoketa

December 24th, 2009 at 10:03 AM ^

Offer up the opinion that if you didn't go to a school you aren't a legit fan.

I've said it a couple times here as well--I respect the HELL out of those who went to Michigan. I've lived all of my adult life outside the state of Michigan and the respect a Michigan degree holds is HUGE. You meet Michigan grads everywhere you go and they've all seemed pretty damn cool to me.

I agree the scholarship to SIU was THE way to go. Free college? Sign me up!

But you, me, and everyone else who never went there are just as much a fan as those who went and go there. No college football/sports program survives on alums alone. There'd be tumbleweeds in every college football stadium if they did.


December 24th, 2009 at 10:38 AM ^

I once got a lecture from a coworker Spartan fan that UofM doesn't have a real fan base, because most of their fans didn't go to school there. I pointed out that he was a huge MSU fan that went to Western and asked him if that made him less of a MSU fan. He said that I didn't get it, he was a real fan and that just about none of the UofM fans actually went to school there...it was like talking to a stone wall.


December 24th, 2009 at 10:55 AM ^

same talk from spartan fans a bunch of times... my first day at my job with GM i put up my michigan flag behind my computer and the first words out of someones mouth was "did you go there???"...(i later found out that 90% of the people i was working with were state grads).... i looked at this person and said "no i did not", and i got a look of disapproval....what i tell most people who also give me this look is: my mom and aunt are both grads from michigan, my dad is and has been a season ticket holder for 32 years and i've been going to games since i was 5, and now i've added to it by marrying a michigan grad...i feel that it is more then enough to qualify me as a michigan fan...


December 24th, 2009 at 11:58 AM ^

I like the U of Colorado. But I didn't
live there
work there
marry someone from there
buy season tickets
attend a game
have close friends/relatives that are alumni
or get rejected by admissions

In fact, I've never been to the state of Colorado.

So shoot me.

How did we get to the point where people have to defend their rooting interests? Why does anyone care? Be true to yourself and forget the rest.

Happy Holidays & Go Blue.

Mr. Robot

December 24th, 2009 at 10:23 AM ^

Every fan is a Michigan Man (or woman) until they have proven themselves otherwise. No Save-a-Lot Spartan has any right to tell them otherwise.

I am fortunate to be going to UM, but I'm also in-state and get a load of financial aid by way of my family being poor to go with it. There are plenty of kids out there who's parents can't pay for their college, but make enough that the government thinks they can, and they get screwed as a result (Like my best friend who's at Michigan Tech). Free college is not something to be passed up without a guarantee you'll get a better enough job to make up for it, and nobody should hold that against you.

I would have at least applied though. You can keep the acceptance letter so you have physical proof you were capable. =)


December 24th, 2009 at 10:26 AM ^

This is good news for me. My dad and grandpa went to Michigan, and I'm currently applying for grad school, but it's nice to know that if I don't get in I can still root for the team.


December 24th, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

Not all Michigan men went to undergraduate or graduate school at Michigan, and not all graduates of Michigan are Michigan men. Count yourself amongst those that are!


December 24th, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

I have my BA degree from UofM and I could care less if other fans have a degree and where they got it from. You judge fans one person at a time. I know some UofM fans that went to school elsewhere that are better fans than ones who went to UofM.

Only jealous people make excuses about "real fans come from the school".

It is only true if you let it be true.

With that logic, the NCAA wouldn't be as big as it is and Junior High kids couldn't be fans. America has freedoms and even MSU has a ton of fans that did not go to school there.


December 24th, 2009 at 10:58 AM ^

I have a pair of BAs from Michigan, and would consider myself a super fan. However, I know a ton of great, great fans who didn't attend and a lot of grads who aren't very good fans. The way I see it, we are all part of one big happy family when we support Michigan the right way.


December 24th, 2009 at 11:03 AM ^

...die hard Michigan fans I know didn't go there. In most cases they were athletes who wanted to play, and would only have the chance in a D-II or D-III school, but they bleed blue as much as I do. If you have unconditional love for the Wolverines, then you've got my respect!


December 24th, 2009 at 11:09 AM ^

In my youth I dreamed of attending UM. In my adolescence I realized that I was not ready. Now that I am ready, I am putting my children thru college. The one consistant thing thru all of the years is that I have been and always will be


December 24th, 2009 at 11:14 AM ^

I didn't go to UofM, but I have friends that are going there and have lived in Ann Arbor my entire life. My Uncle graduated from there and my grandparents had season tickets for almost 20 years. My mom also works at the UofM hospital as a nurse and has for more than 15 years.

There are many ways to measure one's fanhood and their association to said program. I am and always will be a Michigan fan and most of my family will be too. I have a lot of respect for Michigan grads and I hope that someday I'll perhaps go to grad school there if I can. There is nothing like the Michigan Difference.

st barth

December 24th, 2009 at 11:32 AM ^

If you support the team then you definitely qualify as a fan.

Having said that, I will admit to having some mixed feelings about this issue. On the one hand, M football is a great thing and I have enjoyed it for many years. My first strong memories are from about when I was 10 years old, but I certainly remember family following the games before that. Having a team and cheering for it, especially with a geographic region like "Michigan", can add a great sense of community to our lives.

On the other hand, I have to admit that as an alumnus (bachelors & masters degrees) that I also find the exclusivity of a smaller football program appealing. Something more modest like the Ivy League schools where the athletes were drawn from the student population rather than as scholarship athletes (hired guns basically). From this perspective, the presence of "fans" perplexes me somewhat. Not that I dislike them, I just sometimes wonder if this phenomenon (combined with the big tv contracts, large stadiums, etc) hasn't pushed college athletics too far into the "it's a big business" realm...possibly at the expense of the student-athlete experience. I know that is a kind of quaint, maybe even Jeffersonian vision...but is at least a small part of my feelings on the subject. Nonetheless, M football is what it is and will not be changing anytime soon. So I'll just make do loving it for that.

At any rate, regardless of whatever M credentials one holds...no M fan should ever take any shit from a Spartan. Ever. Go Blue.


December 24th, 2009 at 1:35 PM ^

Barth I appreciate your honesty and candor. I wish everyone that had the privlidge to attend U of M had your appreciation. Perhaps you might consider those of us who are just fans who share your sincere and genuine passion as taking the place of those Alum who lack such.

Hail To The Victors!

Elno Lewis

December 24th, 2009 at 11:35 AM ^

lived in a2 all my life too but was too lazy, stupid and poor to attend the UM. First game was the 67 OSU game...went as a boy scout usher and froze my ass off. didn't go to another game until the 69 OSU game whereupon I became the fan i am today. Before that I was a Colts fan and nfl fan only. Glad I made the switch, specially when the Colts bolted and broke my heart.

Go Blue!


December 24th, 2009 at 11:46 AM ^

I think its ok to associate with teams of places/schools one didn't go to. I have alot of respect for Stanford's athletic and academic programs and always root for them when they are not playing Michigan. As long as you support an organization through good times and bad it doesn't not matter whether you went or not.


December 24th, 2009 at 11:54 AM ^

and I have since combined my seat with the seats of two friends who also have season tickets, giving us 6 seats together. We meet up for almost every tailgate. A few of us even manage to hit one away game every season. Of the 6 of us, only two are U of M grads. The bond that exists between my closest friends and myself is strong due to our passion for U of M sports, and not because of where we received our diploma.

I certainly have pride in having attended Michigan, but I was a fan well before I had any idea of what I would be doing post grade school.


December 24th, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

I grew up a Michigan fan. I remember sitting with my parents watching the Rose Bowl as my mother screamed at Anthony Carter, "RUN, RUN, RUN." My dad would take my brother and I to one Michigan game each season (usually early in the season). And I really thought everyone in the state was a Michigan fan since we listened to WJR and it seemed that was all they talked about during game weeks.

After high school, I didn't get accepted into Michigan, so ended up at Hillsdale College with a scholarship. I planned to transfer at some point but once you become part of the culture of a school and you make friends it becomes less important to leave. I remember Jim Harbaugh partying at Hillsdale when I was a freshman and he was a senior.

I spent a short time working for am 1050 WPZA (pizza radio before it became WTKA) covering Michigan events and Ann Arbor news and my love for the school grew. I have never thought I was anything but a Michigan fan. It seems to me if you can remain a Michigan fan through the current few seasons, you deserve to celebrate as a Michigan fan when we return to glory.

Go Blue!


December 24th, 2009 at 1:04 PM ^

I would say that the vast majority of the most passionate fans in the fan base are non-alums. I hate the hoity toity attitude of most alums. But with that being said I think that it "means more" for Michigan alums when Michigan wins than for non-alums since we spent four years of our lives there.

Michigan will always hold a special place in my heart and I'm glad that I got the experience to go there because I can't ever imagine going anywhere else. But OP you definitely made the correct decision to take the scholarship and go with it unless Michigan could match (which they wouldn't).

Someone else said it best: You're an M fan until you prove me wrong and I'm not going to ask you to see your diploma.


December 24th, 2009 at 5:39 PM ^

I don't know that winning and losing means more to Michigan alumni (as this thread and the attendance at the Big House every Saturday indicate, there are plenty of passionate non-alum fans out there), but I know from personal experience that Michigan sports tend to creep into other aspects of my life as an alumnus much more so than they would if I were a fan who had never attended the school.

I have never been on a post-grad job interview where Michigan football wasn't at least referenced (if not discussed in depth). I came very close to throwing the managing partner at the law firm I used to work at out of a 12th story window because he (an old d-bag who went to Cornell) kept running his mouth about us losing to OSU despite the fact that I never once began a football discussion in the office (UM football was just on my resume). So yeah, I do think it is a different experience and makes us alums a little more defensive about the program (I almost socked a 12 year old kid at the 2007 Rose Bowl who kept shouting that Lloyd Carr sucked and had blown the game).

Hopefully these stories add something to the discussion. I'm off to attend my anger management class.


December 24th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

I don't come from a family of Michigan fans, and I really didn't grow up Michigan-crazy, but I did go there for undergrad. My obsession with all things Michigan just kind of hit me my sophomore year and I haven't been the same since. I know plenty of alums who went there, are happy with their degree, but have absolutely no deep connection to the history, the sports teams or the school itself.

I've had this conversation with other people before, and basically it comes down to this--we are this way and feel so strongly and deeply for Michigan because we really don't know how NOT to be this way. It's part of our identity and our soul. I couldn't stop if I wanted to.

I don't care where you went to school or if you went to school, if you're from Ann Arbor or Tokyo. If you're one of us, you'll know it, trust me, and we know it too. In my eyes, we're all family.


December 24th, 2009 at 1:29 PM ^

As an alum, I don't really care if someone has the degree or not to back up the fanhood. If you're a fan, you're a fan. Should I tell my parents they can't root for M because they have degrees from other schools? Well that would be kind of silly, since they began rooting for M after I began attending school there.

So to sum it up, root for whoever the hell you want. I will not, however, suffer M alums that root against Michigan. That is just awful.


December 24th, 2009 at 1:38 PM ^

There are a lot of non-alumns that are much more passionate about Michigan football than some some alumns (especially the "sit down in front" and "fire rich rod before he coaches a 2nd season" variety). I think an alumn might have more of a connection with the university as a whole, but being a student at Michigan is definitely not a prerequisite to being a fan of Michigan, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not a real Michigan Man.


December 24th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

I've been a UM fan since I was kid, first game was UM - Navy,
1975, I think, UM won 70-14. I didn't attend UM, I went into
the service, but I have a brother and a niece that attended
UM, and hopefully someday a couple of grandkids.
They've been my team for about 40 yrs., and I won't change
now. I don't watch much NFL, especially given the product
out of Detroit.


December 24th, 2009 at 2:08 PM ^

Personally, I don't care if someone went to Michigan or not. If you support the team, you're a fan (especially in these trying times!)

In fact, growing up in NYC, I was a big Notre Dame fan (my step dad went there.) I didn't wind up getting into ND but got into Michigan in 2002 for undergrad. Am I more of a fan than a non-student who's been following games since 1970? Absolutely not; in fact, I'd argue the contrary.

I recruit people all the time to root for Michigan. None of my childhood friends went to Michigan, but you'd better believe they have Michigan shirts, hats, jerseys etc.

I met a guy when I went to the Michigan-ND game this past season who was from Australia and was a supporter of Michigan football (initially) because the school colors matched his favorite Australian rugby team. He's now followed the team for a couple of years now. I consider him a fan.


December 24th, 2009 at 6:57 PM ^

I have 2 degrees from Michigan, and attend
games with both alums and fans. In my view
if you are all in, we stand together. If you
take shots at Michigan and RR in this time
when we should defend with all loyalty,
you are an outsider.