On Dec. 3, Maryland’s men’s basketball team hosted Virginia in College Park’s first ranked matchup in over five years. The Terps lost 76-65 to their former ACC rivals, but the story of the game wasn’t the final score, rather it was the behavior of the students attending.
During the game, a “no means no” chant could be heard, aimed at attacking Virginia’s recent rape scandal. A pencil was thrown onto the court from somewhere in the student section in the second half, stopping the game momentarily. When Virginia’s Justin Anderson went down with an injury, those watching on national television could hear several Maryland fans chanting, “Hope it’s broken.” These incidents have brought up some scrutiny about Maryland fan behavior, which isn’t the first time this has come into question.
In 2001, Maryland students got flak for throwing batteries at the opposition when Duke came to College Park, which even got to the point of Carlos Boozer’s mom suing the university for negligence. Maryland has also gained a reputation as a riot school. After beating Duke or achieving a major accomplishment, Maryland students have been known to take to the streets of College Park and wreak havoc. In addition, the Maryland football captain chose to not shake the hands of the Penn State captains before their game in the fall. This garnered national attention and a lot of criticism aimed at Maryland.
These types of stories have given Maryland a bad name among some outside of the fan base. Undecided Sophomore Hunter Kalish said he thinks other fan bases probably see Maryland fans negatively but that it isn’t necessarily fair.
“You’re going to think Maryland is a bunch of douches and insensitive fans, but I think that’s just kind of the stigma,” he said. “I don’t think we differ that much than any other fan base that’s passionate about their programs.”
Sophomore Family Sciences and Community Health Major Andrea Ortiz said Maryland fans are just misunderstood.
“People definitely don’t understand,” she explained. “They probably think Maryland students are really immature and don’t really care about the safety of others. I think they have the wrong idea. They just don’t understand how passionate Maryland fans are.”
Kalish said that regardless of whatever other fans think of Maryland, Terps fans do not care.
“I can assure you that we don’t care what opposing fans think of us,” he said. “As a fan base we facilitate a pretty high mentality about what we do here at the school. I don’t think any outside attitudes would affect us.”
Ortiz agreed with Kalish that Maryland fans don’t care what others think of them.
“We’re going to keep doing our own thing because that’s just the pride we all have,” she said. “It can’t be taken away just because outsiders think we’re too crazy. If anything it makes us do more crazy things to show we don’t care what anyone else thinks.”
Sophomore Finance Major Joe Kogan said he the atmosphere at Maryland and hopes it never changes.
“It’s what makes games fun,” he explained. “It’s what makes people care. I imagine if people were yelling at me it would get in my head. The fans help the sports and it makes the game more fun if people care. It’s what makes out fan base. I don’t think it should be condemned as long as we’re not hurting people or breaking laws.”
Ortiz said the wild atmosphere is one of the reasons she decided to come to Maryland.
“I feel like one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to come to Maryland was because of the pride we have for the school and sports,” she explained. “It makes games more entertaining and I think it gets players more amped up. I think they play better when they feel they have the crowd’s support.”
Kalish said he enjoys the rowdiest of Maryland fans, too.
“I personally love it,” he explained. “I like having an edge as a program. I like creating a nice home atmosphere. I like when opposing teams struggle because we’re loud and rowdy. It creates a nice competitive culture here.”