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'True Believers': Many Die-Hard Duke, Carolina Fans Were Never Alumni

A picture of Duke fans in the stands.
New research shows that many die-hard college sports fans never attended their beloved schools.

A new Duke University study reveals that most die-hard fans did not attend the universities they support. 

Charles Clotfelter researched which college sports teams were mentioned in obituaries. He is a professor of public policy at Duke University. 

Clotfelter says only about a third of what he calls "true believers" were alumni of their teams' universities.

“Many more people were linked to… the college that they loved by having lived in that state than having gone to the school,” Clotfelter says.

Clotfelter says about one third of the die-hard fans in his study didn't go to college at all. 

The research was published online by the Social Science Quarterly.

Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy put recorded portions of some of these die-hard fans' obituaries:

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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