It's a heated, age-old rivalry that even has its own Wikipedia page: UNC-Chapel Hill vs. Duke. Tonight, they square off in their first basketball game of the season and the claws are out on campus.
The vitiriol, it seems, is coming mostly from the Carolina-blue side of the fight this year -- and it's coming from the top. While participating in the AtlanticLIVE Jobs and Economy Town Hall earlier today, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp tweeted his disdain for sports-obsessed Duke. "Our students are talking about the future and asking smart questions instead of wasting time sitting in a tent," he posted, referring to Krzyzewskiville, the Star Wars-premiere-esque line-cum-tent community of students waiting for Duke tickets.
The tweet has since disappeared, replaced by a tepid apology. Thorp wrote: "Sorry about the tent/Kville tweet. Both U's have great students. I shouldn't have gotten carried away by our rivalry in basketball."
Meanwhile, Duke President Richard Brodhead took a classier approach to the skirmish, sending his response to the News & Observer: "Hey Holden, someone hacked your Twitter account to talk trash," he wrote. "May the best team win. From the land of TRUE Blue, Dick."
Over in the land of students, dueling columns have appeared in both UNC's Daily Tar Heel and the Duke Chronicle. In a Tar Heel piece subtly titled "Why I Hate Duke," UNC alumnus Ian Williams wrote of "The Time When I Thought I Wanted to Go to Duke:"
For some unexplainable reasons having to do with planetary alignment or a chemical imbalance, I was set on going to that university in Durham. My high school in Virginia brainwashed us all into thinking that if we didn't end up going to either Duke, UVA, or one of the Ivys we would surely end up stocking Pampers at Wal-Mart. So off I scuttled to those schools, all bushy-tailed and bated, hopin' to impress some institutes of higher learning. By the time I got to visiting Duke, however, the luster of college had begun to dull into a bleak haze.
Duke Chronicle columnist Molly Lester struck a more earnest tone in her article, titled "People Love To Hate:"
Why do people hate Duke? Why do people love to hate everything about Duke? Everything from our curriculum (so what if I study history and English?) to our social scene (that PowerPoint, anyone?) to our basketball team (those Crazies are a little obnoxious)--people don't discriminate ...
If you ask me, Duke has churned out some pretty respectable graduates.
Interested in science? Hans Dehmelt, Robert Richardson and Charles Townes each won the Nobel Prize in Physics. THE Nobel Prize! And what do they all have in common? They all studied at Duke.
Enjoy music? I bet you've heard of a recent graduate named Mike Posner. He's had not just one, but three hits make it on the Billboard Hot 100 list. Not too shabby, if you ask me.
May the best team win, indeed.