What is a Blue Blood or Royalty? reply to Eamonn Brennan

Eamonn Brennan asks the question of whether or not UCONN can obtain Blue Blood status.

This got under my skin but it made me think, which is a good thing.  I'd really like to know how others feel about this.  This is what I came up with...........

Blue bloods: Don't water down the term:

To me it is perfectly simple. And the list is a lot more constricted than you think, or I thought. But no disrespect to those who don't make the Blueblood or Royalty Lists, but those terms are closed unless a program does something historic. Like a John Wooden or UCLA  achievement, and Duke is the only program I can see that happening with. And for the record, I hate Duke.
The ones who don't make the Royalty, or Blueblood list have the term "Elite". And that is nothing to sneeze at.

Elite is a term that can refer to a programs current greatness, or greatness over a generation. Historically Elite points to a program that gives a program proper recognition for great success that they have achieved in the past, but may have fallen off.

In the meantime,

It is about the "blood"line, it really is, and what those programs and fan bases did with it from the beginning.

From Wikipedia for quick reference

Naismith (Kansas) begat  "Phog" Allen (Kansas),
Phog Allen begat Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) and Dean Smith (UNC)

Allen embarked on a coaching career that would lead him to be known as "the Father of Basketball Coaching." During his time at Kansas, Allen coached Dean Smith (1952 National Championship team) and Adolph Rupp (1922 Helms Foundation National Championship team). When Dean Smith retired as head Basketball coach at North Carolina he was the winningest coach in college basketball history, #2 was Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) and #3 was Allen. The three coaches have joined Naismith as members of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

UCLA and John Wooden broke the barrier:
John Wooden(UCLA):  10 championships earn a spot.
 However, if not for such an amazing run, had it been only 3 or 4, They would have had their status revoked a while back because of the silence from them since.

While these next programs generally get the distinction, (and I understand why), this is where the term starts to get watered down.  In a hundred years, if you get 20 programs or so that win 4 championships each are we going to refer to them as all Blue bloods?  The term and the status becomes irrelevant if that is the case:

Indiana (Bobby Knight), I hate him, but I respect his career. 5 titles for the program and 3 with him.  A truely competitive undefeated season and a coach that define an early style of basketball and the man has 900 wins. But if Indiana goes another 20 yrs without doing anything? That will make 40 yrs. with nothing from that program.  Would you still call them Blueblood then?  I don't think so, I think that if you aren't in the original group then your program has to sustain a certain level of success.  Elite is a much better term, or Historically Elite.

Duke (Coach K) I hate him, but again I respect him and his 4th title.  And I will admit that this hate is jealousy.  But if they can't repeat their success with successive coaches over the next 20 yrs. once K is gone, same thing as Indiana, case could be made to revoke their card.

Here's the thing that separates: The fan base, I don't think anyone would ever allow the possibility that Kansas, Kentucky or UNC would fall by the wayside "forever". And I don't think that anyone would ever question if it was possible for that to happen.  With those three (four with UCLA) programs it's not even question on whether they are Blue bloods. And UCLA's fan base almost doesn't care very much, but you can't deny 11 National Championships.

Listen Mr. Brennan, there is a need for somethings to have a top shelf, a label that defines greatness and history, and an origin.  What is wrong with Elite being the top attainable label that a program can have?  It is a fluid term.  It can be used on programs whose level of success may come around and disappear forever and there is no shame in that.  But do you really, or does anybody really think that the ticket to an exclusive club is measured with the magic number of "3 titles".

 Kansas is where it basically took, and where for the most part it all began. It's a program that from it's beginning had a fan base that cared and embraced the sport.  It was the first relevant program with James Naismith and Phog Allen, it's fan base has always been there and probably always will be.  They have sustained success over the years.  It's not the number of titles, it's the feeling you get when you talk about their history and their place in it.

It's the same thing with Kentucky and UNC.  These programs had history and depth and love from their massive fan bases before basketball became popular.

Indiana and Duke normally get added on to the list because of these same reasons.  While above I exclude them on technicalities, you can't deny that they have and have had fan bases that have adored their programs for decades.  Programs where the history comes out in the black and white photos, in the trophy cases. And so if they are not now Blue Bloods, then a case can certainly be made for them. If not now then in the future.

It's not fair and it's not respectful to these fan bases and programs to water down the term of Royalty and Blue Blood with programs that pop onto the big stage for 20-30 years and then disappear for 50.  It's the common knowledge that when you talk about these programs, then you talk about a history that at this time in 2011 you are talking about programs that have been huge for 70, 80 years.  And they have the sustained success and support to back it up.

If you have to debate it then it isn't deserved.


Juan E. Perez

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