You can tell a lot about a fanbase by their game day contraband. These are the most common items smuggled into each Big Ten stadium:
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Modern offensive schemes: Iowa fans are mostly repressed by a lifetime of I-formations and blocking tight ends, but some like to get kinky (the opposite of Kinnicky) and smuggle modern offensive playbooks into the stadium. They’re full of smutty spreads, receivers split extremely wide, naked bootlegs, and raunchy reverses, all of which are considered thoughtcrime by Ferentz’s secret police.
Non-corn-based liquor: Hard drinks are only tolerated if they’re derived from Iowa’s manna, corn. No rum, no wine, and certainly no tequila–this isn’t Texas Southern. Only whiskey is permitted, which is also handy to revive the near-comatose after 17-16 losses to Wisconsin.
Outside feed: Sure beats eating the slop at Kinnick’s concession troughs.
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Hand coolers: The Bank may be the coldest venue in college football, but it’s not cold enough for many Gophers diehards, who sneak in hand coolers under their gloves and wear their frostbite with as much pride as their maroon and gold.
Dairy Queen: Is that a Dilly Bar in your pocket or are you just happy to see the Gophers?
Mean signs: Win or lose, the Gophers strive to be the most polite program in the Big Ten. TCF Bank Stadium’s sign policy is: if you don’t have anything nice to say on a sign, don’t make a sign at all. But there are always a few bad apples who sneak in signs with some of the ugliest, most offensive language Minnesotans can muster, like “Hawkeyes smell” and “Wisconsin Badjerks.”
Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Press Credentials: The aspiring sports reporters in the Medill School love their Wildcats, but not as much as they love their access. These budding Darren Rovells and would-be Michael Wilbons are infamous for wearing lanyards with forged media badges over their suits and watching games from the sidelines or the press box.
Adderall: Walk into a Ryan Field bathroom and there’s a good chance you’ll see a double major snorting crushed adderall off a sink. Moralize all you like, but let’s see you try to ace biochem and sociology, land a part in this fall’s production of The Seagull, work part-time at the library, and still have time to cheer for the football team without the aid of amphetamines.
Wild cats: For years, Northwestern theater students have been conducting a piece of performance trolling where they adopt cats from local shelters, smuggle them into football games, and release them.
Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
In an effort to boost dismal attendance, Memorial Stadium in Champaign is now BYOB and doesn’t screen fans for contraband of any kind.
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
A longing to play Texas and Oklahoma again: By decree of Jim Delany, Nebraska fans aren’t allowed to be nostalgic about the Big 12. But most harbor a longing to play their classic rivals again, a fact they have to conceal as they pass through Big Ten security at Memorial Stadium. Who can blame them? It’s not like the next Game of the Century is going to be played against Illinois.
Iowa corn: They’d never admit it, but some Huskers just prefer what they grow on the other side of the Missouri.
Game programs from the nineties: It’s become Nebraska tradition to smuggle dog-eared old game programs into Memorial Stadium and put on like it’s the mid-nineties glory days again. Fans pore over Tommie Frazier’s stats and read heroic features about Tom Osborne. They argue about whether OJ did it, and whether Troy Aikman’s Cowboys are the greatest dynasty. They discuss Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing, a few suggesting things will get better under Dole. “Show me the money!” some shout when Nebraska scores. Memorial Stadium finally had to ban the old programs because no one was buying the new ones. It got so bad the Omaha World Herald was publishing 25-year-old box scores.
Camp Randall, Madison, WI
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
Service Animals: Indiana has the only Big Ten stadium that doesn’t allow service animals, so people who actually need them have to smuggle them in. The ban was implemented by former coach Kevin Wilson, who decided service animals, like water breaks and concussion protocols, were for pussies.
Basketballs and basketball hoops: We know which sport Indiana lives for, but unlike this joke, fans aren’t allowed to make it obvious during football games.
Knowledge of what a Hoosier is that remains secret even to Tom Allen
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
Gatorade: Ross-Ade Stadium only sells Purdue’s proprietary sports drink, Rossade, and it tastes like coins, which only about half the fanbase enjoys.
Clean Energy Research: Built in 1924, Ross-Ade is a classic coal-fired stadium, smokestacks and all. And the fossil fuel industry means to keep it that way. Researching ways to cut Ross-Ade’s carbon emissions is strictly forbidden. And yet every home game, a team of intrepid graduate students does just that, sneaking in scientific instruments and pretending to watch the game as they conduct tests.
Calculators: They had to ban em, the student section was having way too much fun and nobody was watching the game.
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
An enthusiasm with which mankind is all too familiar
The tacit understanding that bigger and older does not necessarily mean better
The Michigan Every Three Weekly: Michigan’s satirical newspaper was banned at sporting events in 2009 when the athletic department deemed they’d crossed the line with their savaging of poor Tate Forcier.
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Performance enhancing drugs: In East Lansing, they call ‘em Bulloughs.
Nice things: Spartan Stadium is committed to being a spartan stadium. But many Spartans fans betray their Ancient Greek namesakes and smuggle nice things like china, jewels, and tapestries into the stadium and admire them furtively throughout the game.
People: All kidding aside, East Lansing is a major hub of human trafficking, it’s really awful, and it’s only getting worse.
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
The forbidden knowledge that the Bucks have won just 1 Big Ten title in the last 7 seasons
Opposing colors: Crowds of tribal Ohioans pose great danger to outnumbered outsiders, so most fans of the away team wear their colors under a jacket or nondescript sweatshirt.
The sneaking suspicion that’s there more than this
Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD
Old Bay: They sell the seasoning at the concession stands, but the markup is outrageous, so most Terps fans just sneak in one of their many boxes from home.
Non-Under Armour armor under Under Armour: Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank runs Maryland football, so wearing non-Under Armour apparel is obviously forbidden. But there are plenty of Marylanders who prefer McDavid and Nike’s tight-fitting athletic clothing and wear it under their Under Armour.
Natty Boh: Nothing says Maryland Pride like a pilsner brewed in North Carolina and Georgia.
Beaver Stadium, State College, PA
Life-sized statues of Joe Paterno
The transfers: When the Sandusky scandal exploded in 2012, Silas Redd, Justin Brown, Rob Bolden, and six other Penn State football players chose to leave the program and play elsewhere. And who could blame them? Well, Penn State, apparently. They were branded as traitors, forever banned from Beaver Stadium and the state of Pennsylvania. There’s just one problem: to a man, they still love Penn State. And they still come back for home games, wearing outlandish disguises to throw off the authorities and would-be pitchfork-and-Joe-Paterno-statue-wielding mobs.
Bleach: Penn state fans take whiteouts very seriously.
High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Outside food and beverages
Water bottles full of vodka
Vodka bottles full of plastic
Oversized bags and containers
Rags soaked in chloroform
Chloroform bottles full of vodka
Vinny Cicalello and his boys
Insider trading information
Low point solutions
Admiration for Ray Rice