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Mixed Messages on Most Popular Turtles

My sense, not having any sort of objective criteria, was that men's basketball would be the number one sport on Maryland's campus, followed by football, women's basketball, men's soccer, and then everything else. But I got several different opinions on the matter from the football players I surveyed.

"Probably still men's basketball," Erin Henderson said, when I asked him which team had the most interest. "I mean, they won the national championship not too long ago. And you know, Maryland's pretty much a basketball state anyhow, so I'd say them."

(Henderson doesn't go to the men's games, though, because it's too hard to get tickets. He does go to virtually every home women's game. Isaiah Williams, incidentally, said he's been to nearly every home volleyball match and a few water polo (?) games, and Henderson has next-door neighbors on the field hockey team. And all the football players knew that Maryland's men's soccer, women's hoops, field hockey and competitive cheer (?) teams were all national champions last year. Personally, I had no idea about those plucky competitive cheer people, who were apparently willfully ignored by the local media. Won't happen again.)

And second on the popularity ladder, I asked Henderson?

"Hmmmm, we might be working our way up," he said. "I don't know, it might be a tight one now with the girls and their national championship last year."

He wasn't at all kidding. He thought the football team was in a battle with women's hoops for campus popularity. And, in fact, Trey Covington said he thought the women's basketball team was number one in that regard, greater even than men's basketball.

"You know, we might be hot right now, but girls' basketball, they won it all last year," Covington said. "That's not something people are gonna forget."

WR Danny Oquendo, though, voted for football as the number one draw.

"I think we're pretty much up there with the [men's] basketball team, if not a little bit more," he said. "We should be the most popular team on campus because there's so many of us around and we're so much bigger than everybody else. I think the girls' basketball team is pretty high up there, too; they might be number one or number two. We're probably just about the same [as men's basketball], but there's not as many of them."

[Brief propaganda interruption: AD Debbie Yow wanted me to know that women's basketball season tickets have gone from about 2,000 last year to nearly 7,000 this year. Which means that women's basketball attendance at Maryland will likely crush men's basketball attendance at George Washington, Navy, American, Howard and possibly George Mason. Frankly, it could approach Caps attendance. I'm still waiting for a Maryland women's hoops blog. If there's one and I'm missing it, send it along.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 7, 2006; 3:31 PM ET
Categories:  Terps  
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