While the original perpetrators were eventually discovered by the N.C.A.A., which gives away tickets only to legitimate schools, a club was formed to keep the Final Four trips alive. The members maintained the university theme — Maguire has a chancellor, an admissions director, a dean of its nonexistent law school and a coach of its nonexistent swim team — and enrollment has swelled to more than 1,000, at least according to the email list.
Four trips to the Final Four with Maguire are considered enough to graduate, with a degree in bracketology and a minor in intoxicology. But there were plenty of alumni eager to visit San Antonio for this year’s 56th meeting; Comer reserved a block of 60 rooms at the Drury Plaza Hotel almost two years ago. Some were Loyola-Chicago fans; others were rooting for Villanova. Still more were here for other, more social reasons.
Credit Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times
“It’s like getting thrown into the deep end of a pool,” Rudy Fasciani of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., who described himself as a fifth-year senior, said, “that’s full of beer.”
Though they call themselves the Jollymen, Maguire officials and graduates finally ceded to Title IX in 2003 and began accepting women, like Comer, who serves as treasurer. There are no dues, but there is tuition, which goes toward financing the annual Final Four pilgrimage, which this year ran around $2,000 for a five-night hotel stay. That does not include airfare, or the lengthy bar tabs, or even a ticket to the games. In fact, most of the attendees won’t step foot inside the Alamodome.
“We’ll watch the game,” John Kurek, 81, said as he nursed a glass of wine. “But it will be from the bar.”
Kurek, a member of the Maguire hall of fame (he has the emerald cubic zirconia ring to prove it) making his 25th straight Final Four trip, was sitting next to Charlie Hounihan, a Loyola graduate who remembers watching the 1963 team in action. They both live in Chicago and frequently attend Kelly’s Pub, which replaced Maguire’s as the main campus in 1988.