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Krzyzewskiville Sign

Krzyzewskiville Dedication

First Tents at Krzyzewskiville

Present Day Krzyzewskiville

1986 Duke Basketball

How formal have things become at Krzyzewskiville, college basketball's first - Duke students would insist only legitimate - tent city?
 
At the start of the previous school year, an eight-page "Statute of the Duke Student Government: Undergraduate Admissions Policy for the 2003-04 Men's Basketball Season" was published.
 
It included nearly 5,200 words of instruction, and caution, to the Duke students, about the habit of tenting outside Cameron Indoor Stadium merely for the right to eventually claim the best seats for two home games, against Maryland and North Carolina.
 
When the six-story Schwartz-Butters building was dedicated on April, 15, 2000, a sign proclaiming Krzyzewskiville was officially placed near the walkway to Card Gym. But Duke's tent city got its start in 1986.
 
According to legend, K-Ville (as it is more familiarly known on campus) had its humble beginnings when a group of students, having played a game of quarters throughout the night, decided to rent a tent from U-Haul and pitch it on the quad on a Thursday night in anticipation of a game against rival North Carolina on Saturday.
 
There are no student tickets at Duke. It's first come, first enter, although for many years the whole process is monitored officially by jacketed students. It wasn't a case of just getting into the contest against the hated Heels, but to achieve first row status in the bleachers behind press row, opposite the team benches.
 
The better to be seen by television, of course.
 
In 86', Mike Krzyzewski's program had made a breakthrough. It was ranked No. 1 and went all the way to the NCAA finals, where the Blue Devils Lost to Louisville.
They had won a collegiate-record of 37 games.
 
The intial tenting was spontaneous, and soon was followed by other students doing the same thing. But the spontaneity didn't last long as the legend of the tent city grew rapidly. Originally, there would be cardboard signs recording the population of K-Ville, where up to 10 students (now 12) were in each tent.
 
The first tent for the past season was in place on December 26 - some 70 days prior to the UNC game and two weeks before the Christmas holiday break would end. By the time the Maryland game rolled around, more than 100 tents were in place.
 
Duke has tried to regulate K-Ville, out of health fears for students who sleep outside in the middle of winter, snow, rain and cold be damned. The unofficial record was some 170 tents.
 
The rules have changed repeatedly over the years, as Krzyzewskiville has become more and more official. No matter when the first tent went up, in 2004, nothing became official until February 1.
 
At that time, each tent had to be occupied by at least eight members from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. and from 2 a.m. until 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday morning. At all other times, at least one person must occupy the tent. Students work in shifts, normally of two-hour durations during the daylight hours.
 
In the interest of safety - not comfort - after February 1 the line monitors can call a grace period at any time the temperature falls below freezing. Prior to that, the residents of Tent 1 have the right to send everybody to the comfort of their dorm rooms or apartments.
 
However, for walkup overnighters, or in the 48 hours before either of the tent games, there are no grace periods. No matter how dreary the weather, the students have to be in their tent home.
 
What started out as simply an idea hatched by a night of frivolity has become serious businiess. Very serious business.
 
The line monitors run the show. The head monitor, elected by the student body, is in charge of K-Ville. He mediates disputes and makes the rules. And when those rules are broken, the tent inhabitants may be banished entirely, or bumped to the end of the line.
 
But the school has worked hard to make conditions much more liveable. There are Ethernet ports in the base of all quad lights. The whole place has internet access. Students can watch DVDs on laptops and there are extension cords everywhere, reaching to nearby outdoor wall outlets. Every tent has its TVs and nintendos. Hungry? Just call local pizza delivery. They'll be only too happy to service K-Ville.
 
Krzyzewskiville is co-ed roughly on a 60-40 male basis according to a Sports Illustrated on Campus cover story in January, 2004. The females do not get any extra benefits.
 
Maryland only recently became an official game, benefiting a rivalry that mushroomed in importance in recent years, when the Terps went to back-to-back FInal Fours and won a national championship in 2002, a season when UNC slumped to an unimaginable 8-20.
 
Now that Roy Williams has returned to Chapel Hill, the Duke students believe that the UNC rivalry will regain its white-heat status, but they're still willing to contend with the "other" Williams, Maryland, coach Gary, who considers Duke public enemy No. 1.
 
When the K-Ville inhabitants gain intial entry for the two "official" games, they don't have any extra privileges for other home games in legendary, ancient and
(relatively) tiny Cameron. Like all other students, the tent residents have to line up to enter the building.
 
The line monitors send them in groups, and the head monitor calls a halt if he determines that the student section is full. Actually, it is mostly overflowing, and it's rare that anybody is turned away.
 
Krzyzewski has worked hard over the years to both court and shape the tenting students. He constantly reminds them they are a part of the team. On the night before the Carolina game, he will send pizzas to K-Ville, and the students will be invited into the old arena to listen to encouraging words from their leader.
 
They may be shown highlights of previous Duke-Carolina games. And they will be told what to look for in the next day's game, or as the case in 2004, a 9 p.m.  Saturday night regular-season finale.
 
Once the UNC game has ended, Krzyzewskiville is abandoned. The place is a mess. There is mud and empty cans and pizza boxes, their contents long since devoured. It looks for all the world like an abandoned town, which, in a sense, it is.
 
It usually takes four days to clean up the place, and nearly a year before the grass can grow back. Just in time for the next Krzyzewskiville.
 
Krzyzewskiville is unique. It is Duke and nobody else has one. Duke basketball stands apart, and on its own, and one of the reasons is the tent city. Outsiders simply can't comprehend why bright young people with those absurdly high SATs would spend countless hours over many days, braving the wet and the cold when it wasn't neccessary, to be assured of being admitted to a basketball game they were entitled to attend. For free. Although they would have to stand the entire time.
 
K-Ville is different. For that matter, so is Duke Basketball
 
 
 
- from "One Hundred Seasons : Duke Basketball"
              by author BIll Brill and Duke University
 
 

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