12 Colleges With Scary School Spirit

Not all school spirit is created equal. Those colleges with exceptional community support have cultivated longstanding traditions on game day, on campus, and in keeping close ties with alumni. Some schools, however, take their spirit and loyalty to the extreme. Frenetic fans at these 12 schools are even a little scary.

  1. Texas A&M: One of the largest universities in the country, Texas A&M’s alumni network keeps the Aggieland school spirit going even after graduation. Fight songs, hand signals, and even the customary "Howdy" greeting are all part of being an Aggie, even if you’re not into sports or school spirit. But you’d better expect to get swept up in this manic wave of tradition anyway. Yell teams get the crowds going at football games, the 12th Man is a collective name for every fan watching the 11 players on the field, the Aggie ring chugging ceremony for graduates, and the bonfire are just a few of the rabid signs Aggies love their school. On game day, you’ll see crowds of Aggies in school colors gathered at bars around the country, too.
  2. University of Michigan: University of Michigan is known for promoting school spirit all over campus and in the community, inspiring alumni to do the same as they move around the world. Fans and students are almost incessantly dressed in school t-shirts and sweatshirts, everyone knows the fight song by heart, and the university’s halls and museums and popular spots for faculty and students to get married.
  3. Duke: Duke basketball fans are so crazy, they own it. The Cameron Crazies is a group of student fans of the school basketball fans, all of whom believe they were born to hate UNC and any Duke rival with an unbridled ferocity. And while face paint is popular at many school games, the Cameron Crazies lead an entire stadium and global fan base, GoDuke.com also notes that the Cameron Crazies are widely known as "the most creative fans in sports." Creative, or crazy.
  4. Notre Dame: Besides fostering a rambunctious football following, Notre Dame’s traditions come from old legends and lore telling the history of the school and its sisterhood with St. Mary’s campus. And a strong Irish Catholic heritage binds students — even those of different backgrounds — into a tightly knit, fiercely loyal family.
  5. USC: Trojan Pride is often cited as one of the scariest traditions of school spirit in the country, but it’s something University of Southern California students and alumni are proud of. Any school with a historic rivalry usually ends up with a surplus of school spirit year round too, but USC has two major enemies on the football field. They reserve the Victory Bell trophy for the annual USC – UCLA Game, and the Gaelic war club Shillelagh is awarded to the winner of the USC – Notre Dame game each year.
  6. Ohio State: Ohio State fans are serious about their school. Offspring of alumni become fans in the womb, and probably learn the O-H-I-O arm "cheer" way before picking up on "YMCA’s" dance-along moves. In fact, the cheer represents the school’s holistic sense of school spirit: it symbolizes the student, fan and alumni commitment to community service, academics and athletics — there’s no part of life that doesn’t need a little boost from Ohio State tradition.
  7. Clemson: South Carolina’s Clemson University has been officially recognized for its "unparalleled school spirit," which is a nice way of saying the school’s fans, faculty, students and alumni are all a little unbalanced when it comes to supporting their school’s traditions. Also recognized as a top school for athletes, it’s no wonder all those hyped up high schoolers — used to cheering fans all their lives — bring that sort of enthusiasm to college. Students also get free tickets to home games, and most everyone accepts the invite.
  8. Penn State: If you go to Rutgers, you have to hate Penn State. But this Rutgers student actually proposed learning school spirit from its rival fans, crediting Penn State with showering praise and money onto its athletic programs to amp up community support. Some dismiss Penn State fans for being egomaniacs, but we’ll just call it (scary) school spirit.
  9. Miami University: Miami University makes sure its prospective freshmen know all the fight songs, cheers and school traditions before they even make it to campus for orientation. Ironically, the Florida’s school’s most popular sport is hockey — said to be a lush fest for Miami students rallying for their school.
  10. University of California — Berkeley: Berkeley’s got a lot of stereotypes: students are seen as privileged, hippies, intellectuals, and also big partiers and supporters of campus traditions. The Big "C" watches over campus, and the axe, cannon and band are also major symbols of school pride. Ninety percent of students are involved in Greek life, fueling community spirit and lifelong ties to school friends and traditions.
  11. Stanford: Explained from an outsider — and rival’s — point of view"the "Stanford spirit" makes people cheer their heads off at rallies, wear rooters’ caps at football games, and yell like mad for a team that loses every game." That’s scary stuff for a losing school, especially for students who are supposed to be so smart. Stanford kids also have a reputation for looking overly "catalog" or "magazine-modely:" they’re thrilled about their school experiences and love wearing school colors.
  12. LSU: LSU students and alumni wear (and dress their kids in) all sorts of odd creations fashioned out of purple and gold. Conventional tees and sweats aren’t creative enough for these fans, who need a Tiger outfit for every occasion. In fact, LSU itself believes the school colors hold some sort of magic power to inspire students to succeed. The LSU logos, mascot, colors and tradition are just as important to a student’s experience on campus as classes, professors, internships, extracurriculars, dorm life, and finals. In fact, under the purple and gold, they’re indivisible.

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