Did you know that Ohio University (OU) students frequently use an explicit phrase targeted toward Miami University? Did you also know that Miami students seemingly don’t care?
Laura De Oliveira is a senior at Miami studying information systems & analytics. Having grown up in Athens, Ohio, and having a dad who works for OU meant that Miami wasn’t always her first choice.
And when it finally was, things got complicated.
De Oliveira said many of her high school friends tried to convince her to come to OU and stay away from Miami.
“Half my high school goes to OU every year, my friends included, so it’s safe to say I got a lot of crap for [coming to Miami],” De Oliveira said. “They would tell me how great OU is, and then they would say at Miami, some people are rude or they’re self-centered.”
De Oliveira said she thought her friends were mainly trying to convince her to come to OU, but she also acknowledged that OU students seemingly have a one-sided rivalry, both in sports like the annual “Battle of the Bricks” football game and just in general.
“Our rivalry is very interesting. OU takes it so seriously, [and] Miami really doesn’t care,” De Oliveira said. “I know OU is more of a sports-centered college, and so the Battle of the Bricks is more of a big deal in Athens, but no one cares about OU at Miami.”
Sophomore zoology major Elianna Toppercer, an Athens native from the age of four, went through a similar situation before coming to Miami.
“All 10 of my closest friends are going to OU, and they obviously tried to get me not to come here,” Toppercer said. “They told me Miami was preppy, that it was a rich, conservative school. That they’ve never met anyone nice or anyone who is a genuine person. Obviously they were just trying to get me to come to OU when saying that, but I think it’s something deeper.”
Toppercer said that before parting from her OU friends, they threatened to buy her a T-shirt with the phrase “Muck Fiami” printed across the front.
“They told me they were going to buy one for me when I left,” Toppercer said. “I’m still waiting on that day.”
Mary Cheadle, owner of Uptown Dog T-Shirts in Athens, used to sell “Muck Fiami” t-shirts and said she had seen this kind of behavior all the time at her store.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
“OU students used to buy the shirt and they would tell me they planned on sending it to their Miami friends. It was pretty common,” Cheadle said. “I felt like that kind of gag gift was always fun.”
Cheadle said Uptown Dog T-Shirts started making “Muck Fiami” t-shirts as a way to jokingly support a rivalry between the two schools back in the early 1990s.
“Back in the day ‘Muck Fiami’ was very popular, it became almost a cult classic really,” Cheadle said. “My dad actually went to Miami, moved [to Athens] and worked for OU. He never liked the shirt, but he thought it was pretty funny.”
Cheadle said in making the shirt, the company thought it would set itself apart from typical OU wear.
“We're trying to be a little different, a little bit edgy you know. We always wanted to play on the rivalry with Miami,” Cheadle said. “And we always meant it to be tongue-in-cheek, our intentions weren't to make anyone mad.”
Cheadle said while many see the rivalry between the two schools purely from a sports side, she thought it went past that.
“If you ask our students about Miami, I suppose they would say they believe that [Miami students] are classier, higher caliber. They would talk about polo shirts and khakis, you know, to bring out the kind of look of Miami students,” Cheadle said.
While Miami doesn’t quite have a phrase as popular as ‘Muck Fiami’, Cheadle said she would gladly welcome a response.
“I think it would be fun if they came up with a shirt or something like we have. It would be fun to go back and forth on shirts like that,” Cheadle said.
De Oliveira said maybe Miami can build a rivalry, but first, students need to be able to identify the university.
“A lot of my friends are out of state, and so I guess the only thing they say is ‘what is OU?’”