In discussing the positives and negatives of various institutions a recruit is considering, the Kentucky Sports Radio blog opined as follows regarding Duke University:

While Duke is most likely third right now in this “Chase for the Pat”, no University in America has been more successful at the recruiting game in recent years than the Blue Devils. So why is that? There are a number of reasons. First and foremost is that Coach K has produced a program in Durham that is really unlike any other in all of college sports. As much as is possible in that type of atmosphere, Duke is a corporate environment, where being part of “Blue Devil Inc” is more of a life choice than it is even a basketball decision. To the average, ESPN watching sports fan, Duke IS college basketball. The university has virtually all of their games on national television and they are the only school that can sell to recruits the notion that they will certainly become famous by stepping on campus. Put simply, a Duke basketball game is part of the national sports conversation……even when, as last year, it is played against a nothing opponent like Florida St. Duke is involved, thus it is news,

In addition, Duke as a university is an amazing institution. Regardless of the problems in Durham in recent years, the school is beautiful and due to its sports success, is one of the places (along with Harvard, Yale and Stanford) that even those not familiar with higher education, know is an elite school. Plus, the notion of the Duke “family” is real. While some of the family aspects are bogus (if you fall out of grace with Coach K you are kicked out forever……see William Avery), if you pass the test of “Dukeness” there is an entire business, journalistic and athletic network that can truly set you up for life. This network is nationwide and can be seen by all the Dukies working in these fields. Finally, Duke has the most fervent student population of fans in America. I know we all hate Cameron, but there is NO BETTER place to watch a college basketball game in America, period. When Duke is rocking, it is amazing (although when Rupp Arena is hyped for a big game, it may be just as impressive.) Plus it doesnt hurt that the number one rival for the school (UNC) produces a set of games every year that are often hyped as the biggest rivalry in all of sports.

So what are the negatives? Well for one thing, Coach K turns some people off (to say the least). He wears a “holier than thou” attitude everywhere he goes that can cause those who are not mesmerized to be truly turned off. In addition, Duke is lily white……I mean really lily white. There may be no university in America that reeks economic privilege quite like Duke. While many of the students are very intelligent, a lot are simply rich daddy’s boys and girls who had their mediocre high school performances overlooked by daddy’s trust fund. For many student-athletes, this student body simply is not where they want to spend four years, and it explains often the kids who end up disliking the University. Finally some folks simply dont buy the hype. Not all of us want to spend four years slapping the floor and worshipping the K Toupee. And for those, Duke can be a stifling place that they would rather get past.

Whew. All those nice things to say, and then that’s all KSR can come up with to drag Duke down (or rather, to placate the Kentucky fans who were undoubtedly percolating with anger at the prospect of Cameron being a superior environment than Rupp)?

First, a hearfelt “thank you” is warranted for the generous praise poured upon the university.

And after that, I would merely offer Duke’s other cheek.

In the dissemination of opinions such as that offered by KSR, fact is of little to no consequence. Duke is not, in fact, an ivory tower, as any quantitative or qualitative appraisal would demonstrate: Just 56% of Duke’s undergrads are white; the University is often ranked among the best universities for diversity and multiculturalism–both in numbers and otherwise–in America.

As to the charge that Duke “reeks economic privilege,” the University is no different than other elite academic institutions in the proportion of students that hail from financially stable backgrounds. However, Duke is one of only a handful of universities that still provides need-blind financial aid, of which 40% of the student body benefits, the average package of which is $24,000.

And finally, Coach K does not wear a toupee.

At least not yet.

Having to put up with absurdities like this certainly does not help.

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