I went to Big Ten schools for undergrad and grad and there is such a sense of pride and identity bound up with such attendance, esp. in undergrad. There is still ribbing at the bus stop among parents based on who went to Illinois instead of Michigan or Michigan State. I don't know many Iowa grads, but almost to a person, other Big Ten alum take that affiliation seriously. Save for the odd Notre Dame flag here or there, my neighborhood looks like the Big Ten headquarters, what with all the flags waving in the cold fall breeze (and this doesn't count the bumper stickers in the driveways and the t-shirts we dress our kids in).On campuses, this gets up to a fevered pitch, especially during football season. I gained a view into this as I participated in the protests against Chief Illiniwek in the 1990s. Pro-Chief folks were rabid in their intensity and their dedication to preserving his/their identity. I watched alum and students, parents, and fans, (many who did not even attend Illinois) look at the Chief with such pride and reverence (and some fetishization, I think) at many a game and on tv--it was frighteningly astounding. When the Chief danced his last dance, I cheered. Others cried. From that experience, seeing last night's reaction to JoePa's very righteous and long-overdue firing for his role in this shameful cover-up was not totally unexpected. Disgusting and heartbreaking, but not totally unexpected.
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