When Ohio University President Roderick McDavis welcomed this year’s freshmen at their 2015 convocation ceremony, he said they are not only “Bobcats today, but Bobcats forever.”
However, some Bobcats like to call themselves something else: Buckeyes.
Ohio State fans can be found everywhere at OU, from students, to faculty, to everyday Athens residents. While they all live in a college town with a full Division 1 Athletics program, many choose to cheer on the team from Columbus.
Take a few steps into one of Athen’s more popular book stores — College Book Store — and you’ll notice OSU gear in plain sight amidst the mass of OU items.
For OSU fans coming to OU for the first time as students, remaining loyal to the Buckeyes in Athens can be challenging.
“It’s kinda tough being a Buckeye fan here in Athens,” OU student Megan Henry said. “I kinda feel like I have to hide that fact, especially at orientation when some of the administrators gave a funny talking to about how we go to OU not OSU.”
Henry said she’s been a Buckeyes fan since she was a kid, but left her OSU gear at home when she moved to Athens last year.
“I try to watch as many games as possible while I’m here in Athens,” she said. “It’s hard because I don’t always get the channel the Buckeyes are playing on or I’ll be busy.”
Henry said she did get to enjoy watching OSU’s national championship win last January.
“It was so much fun watching the Bucks win the championship in my friend’s dorm,” she said. “I like being an OSU fan because it’s fun being a Buckeye fan. Our teams do exceptionally well. We have so many world-class athletes and Heisman Trophy winners.”
Another Buckeye in Athens, Liam Niemeyer, said he’s been a fan of Ohio State since he first moved to Columbus when he was six.
“Just living in Central Ohio indoctrinates you into the OSU fanbase,” Niemeyer said. “Everyone on Saturdays throws an OSU block party.”
However, he said coming to Athens changed his priorities. While he still is an OSU fan at heart, being a Bobcat takes precedence.
“You would think there would be some inner-conflict of allegiances duking it out, but not really,” Niemeyer said. “I still cheer on the Buckeyes in football, but I know where my true home is now — it’s here in Athens”
Niemeyer said he still watches OSU games in Athens.
“Whenever I watch them now on TV, I still get just as excited cheering them on as I would at home,” he said. “But if the Bobcats are on also, then OSU’s going in the dumpster of unworthy sports teams.”
Plenty of Bobcats have had their fair share to say about the OSU-OU debate on social media as well:
When you go to Ohio University but you have on a Ohio State sweatshirt and it seems like all eyes are on you ?
— Na-o-mi (@NaNa_Terriann) August 26, 2015
I'll be legitimately annoyed if somebody makes a "bro this is OU not Ohio State" comment to me today bc you bet your ass I'll be repping OSU
— Jack Duffner (@BabyDuff42) September 7, 2015
I'm watching the Ohio state game in my Ohio university dorm room.. Is this allowed
— Sam (@sammgarza) September 8, 2015
judging by people at the bars the past couple hours, OU students must wish they went to OSU. bet you wouldn't see many at an OU game.
— chad lindskog (@chadlindskog) January 13, 2015
While Ohio University has a large following in Athens, its clear that Ohio State University still has fans of its own.