Oscar Statue

Oscar Robertson's statue is guarded by UC students for several days before the city's Crosstown Shootout outside of Fifth Third Arena, Wednesday, January 25, 2017. 

A tradition many rival schools take part in is defacing the opposing university’s monuments or statues during the week they matchup in a prominent sport.

University of Cincinnati students want to make sure that does not happen.

UC’s men’s basketball team plays their crosstown rival Xavier University Thursday night, and students have camped out on Sheakley Lawn all week, making sure Xavier students do not touch the Oscar Robertson statue, and other campus monuments.

“The goal was to have different activities [and for] student groups [to] join us each night from 9 p.m. to midnight. After that, the long watch would set I,” said marketing student Nicholas Bauer.

Bauer said during the night, students take turn patrolling the five prominent statues on campus – Oscar Robertson, Herman Schneider, William Howard Taft, the Mick and Mack lions and the Bearcat – then during the day they make sure someone is always at their base.

The idea to protect the monuments special to their school came about when the two teams faced last year.

“There was about 10 of us who camped out the night before the crosstown [shootout] to guard Oscar,” said the director of spirit of RallyCats, a student-run spirit organization, Nick Beeman. “Xavier [students] actually got to the statues before we started so it wasn't very successful last year. This year we started preparation in the fall and started working with other student organizations at the beginning of basketball season.” 

The three-and-a-half-mile distance between the two schools makes it easy for students to make the trip, it also is a key reason the rivalry is considered, by many, to be special. 

“I think this rivalry is special because of the history and location schools,” Beeman said. “The distance between schools makes the game special because it feels like the winner gets bragging rights till the next year. It shows who is really the best team in Cincinnati, although Xavier is in Norwood.”

Despite the lack of sleep the students will have before the game, they will be ready for tip-off at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“Sure it gets cold, we get tired, but we seem to always find another energy boost when we need it,” Bauer said.