When Ball State’s football team travels to Bloomington on Saturday to renew its rivalry with Indiana University, the DeBlasio family will be in attendance.
Whether mother, father and son will get along like family after the game remains to be seen.
Brian and Jennifer DeBlasio are IU grads and strong supporters of its athletic programs. Their college freshman son, Cameron, himself a lifelong fan of the Hoosiers’, rocked the boat by deciding to attend Ball State.
“We let Cameron make up his own mind on where to go to college,” Brian DeBlasio said the day he and his wife moved their son into DeHority Complex. “We’re pleased he chose Ball State, but at least for me, that doesn’t apply to the football field. We’re going to clash on that.”
The Lafayette, Indiana, family may not be alone. This weekend’s game is one of four meetings between the two football programs during the next five years. And if the past is any indication, that’s plenty of time for friendly family rivalries to surface.
In another family straddling loyalties to Ball State and IU, Adam Wire recalls the teams’ 2011 meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which Ball State won. He and his father, Jerry, both Ball State alumni, attended with Adam’s brother, Brian, an IU graduate.
“To be fair, Brian didn’t boast much beforehand, but he certainly didn’t afterward,” said Adam Wire, ’00. “As a Ball State alum, it was a prideful moment, the sort that academics, as vital as they are, can’t provide.”
In the DeBlasio family, Saturday’s game is testing loyalties.
“This isn’t easy for me to do,” Jennifer DeBlasio said, laughing, “but I have to go with Cameron and wear a Ball State shirt to the game. I love my husband, but I have to support my son’s college for this game.”
When it came time for Cameron to choose a college, there were two options.
“My decision ultimately came down to IU and Ball State,” he said. “I’m going to study journalism and telecommunications and was impressed with the quality of both programs here. It was a load off my mind when I announced my decision to my parents.”
Cameron’s announcement came in April in the family room, which held a big display of IU athletics memorabilia. It was there that he donned a Ball State hat and shirt and summoned his parents.
“When my parents came in, words weren’t really necessary,” he said. “I think the hat and shirt did the talking for me. That, and me flashing the ‘Chirp! Chirp!’ sign.”
IU and Ball State have met seven times on the football field, with IU owning a 4-3 advantage. The Hoosiers won the first four meetings, and the Cardinals the last three. The teams are also scheduled to meet in 2018, 2019 and 2020, giving the DeBlasio family and possibly others ample opportunity to claim bragging rights.
“We’re all looking forward to attending the game together,” said Brian DeBlasio. “It should be a good game to watch, but I guess I will be outnumbered, since my wife defected to the other side. We’ll just have to see how this all plays out.”
Director of Media Strategy Lisa Renze-Rhodes contributed to this story.