Is Villanova a Philly School? Please Stop Using the “City Limits” Argument

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when we debate whether or not Villanova is a “Philly school,” as if it even really matters (spoiler: it doesn’t). It’s just something people say to discredit the basketball program instead of rightfully applauding Jay Wright and his players for their elite-level achievements over the past few seasons.

Now, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE that Villanova, despite campus not being physically located within the Philadelphia city limits, is a “Philly school” for the following reasons:

  1. they play a number of home games at the Wells Fargo Center, which is in the Philadelphia city limits
  2. they also play some non-Penn Big Five games at the Palestra, which is in the Philadelphia city limits
  3. Jay Wright has always recruited players like Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Maalik Wayns, who come from high schools in the Philadelphia city limits
  4. thousands of people came to watch their national championship parades, which took place within the Philadelphia city limits
  5. they garner more media attention from outlets within the Philadelphia city limits (because they’re a bigger and better program)
  6. the Big Five website describes involved programs as “five prestigious Philadelphia universities”

Those are my arguments.

Please do not give me the geography thing. The geography thing holds up worse than a wet paper bag receiving a Jorge Masvidal left hook.

For instance, St. Joe’s is literally 20 feet from Montgomery County, yet Hawk fans will claim SJU as a “Philly school,” even though it’s closer to Bala Cynwyd, where houses go for upwards of half a million dollars, than any typical Philadelphia neighborhood. Plus, most of the people on both sides of the argument are white kids who grew up in the suburbs anyway.

But if we have to do the geography argument, consider this:

You know how Mike Trout is such a Philly dude? How he lives and breathes Philly sports despite committing his future to the Angels? He’s from Millville, which is 44.7 miles and 48 minutes from City Hall.

Here, see for yourself, after the jump:

Mike Trout is so Philly, having grown up almost an hour away. It’s okay for him to be a Philly guy, even though he was raised well outside of the Philadelphia city limits.

And here’s where Villanova is located, 13.5 miles up Lancaster Avenue:

Trout can be a totally Philly dude while growing up on the Eagles and Phillies in South Jersey, yet Nova, which actually has tangible Philly ties, is not a Philly school.

Got it.

So here’s the thing:

Obviously if you went to Temple or Penn or St. Joe’s or whatever, you probably don’t care about Nova and you don’t cheer for them. I don’t blame you, because you lived Big Five basketball and your justification for disliking Nova is 100% sound. They are a local rival. I would not cheer for Pitt or Virginia Tech in the NCAA Tournament and I wouldn’t expect a Temple fan to cheer for Villanova either. Just say you don’t like them because they’re a rival instead of giving me some dog shit about the Philadelphia city limits.

This is more of a bother for me when it comes to neutral fans who say, “well they aren’t from Philly, so why should I care?

You don’t have to. Nobody is forcing you to like anyone or anything, but as someone who grew up in this region and did not go to a Big Five school, I found it easy to cheer for local kids like Mikal Bridges and Ryan Arcidiacono a few years back. I found it very easy to cheer for Jameer Nelson and the Hawks back in 2004, even though I personally had no ties to St. Joe’s. Likewise, I was pulling for Fran Dunphy and Shizz Alston Jr. last night. These are feel-good stories for our entire region, which is part of the 8th biggest metro area in the United States, spanning parts of four different states and including more than six million people. If you can’t get down with local kids finding success, then what the hell?

Another reason why the geography argument is weak is because:

  • The New York Giants and New York Jets do not play in New York.
  • The New York Red Bulls do not play in New York.
  • The Buffalo Bills don’t play in Buffalo.
  • The Washington Redskins don’t play in Washington.
  • The Philadelphia Union don’t play in Philadelphia.
  • The Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas.
  • Smarty Jones wasn’t from Philly, he was from Chester County.
  • The Atlanta Braves don’t play in Atlanta.
  • The Washington Redskins don’t play in Washington.
  • The Detroit Pistons didn’t play in Detroit until 2017, when Little Caesers Arena was built
  • The Phoenix Coyotes don’t play in Phoenix (edit: I forgot they changed the name to Arizona Coyotes)
  • The San Francisco 49ers don’t play in San Francisco.
  • The Chicago Fire don’t play in Chicago.
  • etc

But none of that is ever used as a reason to marginalize those teams or horses. You think people in Queens aren’t pulling for the Giants because they play in New Jersey? Of course not. Likewise, folks up in Central PA typically pull for Penn State whether or not they attended the school, because they want to see their regional college football team succeed. The Philadelphia Union, who play in Chester, recruit kids into their academy from within the Philadelphia city limits. 

Furthermore, we love our pro sports teams while fervently supporting everything else Philadelphia, yet the Sixers have zero players from Philadelphia on their roster. They have players from Cameroon, Australia, Pittsburgh, and Serbia. Villanova, Temple, and the other Big Five programs have kids from Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philly, Delaware, and South Jersey. Isn’t it a bit corny to talk a big game about the Philadelphia city limits when 98% percent of the guys who wear pro jerseys aren’t even from here? Claude Giroux is Canadian and Nick Foles is from Texas. They aren’t from the Philadelphia city limits, but we love them anyway.

That’s the dumb side of parochialism, where we come across as a bit near-sighted. Being provincial is, at times, a very positive and very Philadelphia trait, but too much of that makes us myopic.

These are my Villanova takes. If you disagree with me, then, well, that’s just like your opinion, man, as Jeff Bridges once said:

DISCLAIMER: Villanova alumnus Kyle Scott had nothing to do with this post. He did not assign it. I did this on my own volition.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email


  • Alpha March 20, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I always think its its funny when a whole bunch of “philly people” that live in South Jersey claim Villanova isnt a Philly school.

  • Shart Shartveit March 20, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Nobody from Philly talks about this.

    Only suburban people go around talking about who and what is Philly.

  • Helpful haberdasher March 20, 2019 at 11:50 am

    I have a suggestion, why not buy mens sized boots and stuff them with newspapers or rags?

  • Haha March 20, 2019 at 11:53 am

    This is the topic of the day on WIP.

    Looks like ol’ Kev has been tuned in all day.

    • The Rock March 20, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      The Rock says he gonna shine kinkers 7 1/2 boot real nice and stick it straight up your candy ass!

    • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      and you’ve been tuned in to this website for months, giving us free clicks

      • Hooter March 20, 2019 at 2:50 pm

        I do not believe I have seen such a through position piece on a subject that no one gives a flying F about. Well done! Temple guy, I used to mildly root for Nova in the tournaments if Temple was out until Jay Wright blackballed them from getting into the old Big East. They are dead to me now.

        • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 3:14 pm

          site traffic disagrees homeboy

      • Geppetto March 20, 2019 at 7:27 pm

        Look out, the true puppet master has revealed himself! Kinker has you doing exactly what he wants bwahahahaha!!!!

  • Warm take March 20, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Nobody cares.

    But also, yes sure it is a Philly school. Arguing though that is is with a main point being kids from Philly are recruited.
    That’s a bad argument and you should feel bad.

    • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      one of six points, but nice try

    • Logic. March 20, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Can you re-type your comment in English, please. I enjoyed the article Kevin, good points, all true. It’s obviously a Philly school, it’s the metropolitan area, who all root for the same teams. The New York Giants point was a good one.

      Unfortunately, the troll squad that is typically commenting are exactly the type of irrational morons that make the non-Philly arguments so this is hostile territory. But not indicative of the real world.

  • kind of like saying March 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    mike trout is from Philly.. its only 45 mins i right or am i right

  • Fr. McGowan March 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Agree with Kevver on this one. If I inherited saying wooder and chopping off consonants but happened to be born in the suburbs, I think I’m OK saying I’m from Philly when I’m traveling. I mean, travlinn.

  • Ron Bowman Sucks March 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    The Pistons do play Detroit again. Little Caesars Arena.

    • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      yeah I missed that one, my bad, was built in 2017 and they moved back from Auburn Hills

  • Kyle March 20, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Your raise is waiting in my basement dungeon next to our betting “office”.

    • Dungeon Boy Bob March 20, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      More like orifice, am I right????

  • Reality March 20, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I don’t know anyone who would go out of their way to say they are a Philly school or related to philly in any way. It’s not like New York city or Boston or LA or Miami. Nova people should do everything they can to make sure they aren’t lumped in with Philadelphia.

  • Paul VI inside her March 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    You forgot Cuz, the biggest Philly guy of them all, being from South Jersey.

  • Philly78 March 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    What media market does Villanova play in? End of story. From a Temple fan.

  • original realist March 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Another reason why the geography argument is weak is because:

    The New York Giants and New York Jets do not play in New York.(regularly used as a reason to marginalize)
    The New York Red Bulls do not play in New York. (never heard of them)
    The Buffalo Bills don’t play in Buffalo. (regularly used as a a retort whenever someone says the bills are the only NY team)
    The Washington Redskins don’t play in Washington.(regularly used as a reason to marginalize)
    The Philadelphia Union don’t play in Philadelphia. (every person in the world who cares about the Union are at the game, no one else cares)
    The Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas. (regularly used as a reason to marginalize)
    Smarty Jones wasn’t from Philly, he was from Chester County. (no one cares about horses)
    The Atlanta Braves don’t play in Atlanta. (regularly used as a reason to marginalize)
    The Washington Redskins don’t play in Washington. (regularly used as a reason to marginalize)
    The Detroit Pistons don’t play in Detroit. (It is no longer the early 90s, no one cares)
    The Phoenix Coyotes don’t play in Phoenix (edit: I forgot they changed the name to Arizona Coyotes) (no one is aware that this team exists, even in AZ)
    The San Francisco 49ers don’t play in San Francisco. (regularly used as a reason to marginalize)
    The Chicago Fire don’t play in Chicago. (this is the first time ive ever read this name before in my life)
    But none of that is ever used as a reason to marginalize those teams or horses. (youre very wrong)

    I agree with your overall opinion but I think trying to use the above as a point of reference only made your point weaker.

    Lets just call out the obvious spade a spade here: Temple fans are bitter people and the only way they feel better is putting other people down because they have nothing going for them.

    • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      nobody living IN THOSE ACTUAL LOCATIONS uses that as a reason to marginalize those franchises (i.e. how Temple fans judge Nova)

      for instance nobody in Buffalo says, “well the Bills aren’t a Buffalo team because they play in Orchard Park”

      everything you’re suggesting here is external marginalizing from outside sources (fans/media/etc)

      • original realist March 20, 2019 at 12:31 pm

        and the people marginalizing Nova are also outside fans. Theyre bitter temple fans, I dont think where they are is relevant.

        I dont see this as an external/internal thing as much as it is another fan base who lives here just looking to find a way to knock nova fans down a peg by trying to exclude them artificially. As if that even matters (like you said)

        Saltiest fans on earth are going to be salty, this should not be news to anyone born/raised here

  • Rich March 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    A lot of people, myself included, rooted against Villanova , not because of this Philly thing, but because Rollie Massimino decided to blow up the Big 5 so he could get a few more cheap wins to qualify for the NCAA tourney. But those days are past, the Big 5 is back in gear, and I am no longer disliking the Cats. From all accounts, Jay Wright seems like a classy guy, and I would sure take him and his program over the likes of Pitino, Callpari et al.

    • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 12:16 pm


    • Alpha March 20, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      The Big 5 is for irish dudes over 60.

      • Jimmy Pesto March 20, 2019 at 7:32 pm

        Irish guys wish they had 5 when big. Zoom!

  • My first comment after turning 45 March 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    I’ve been out approaching 25 years, but one thing hasn’t changed looking at the demographics and going to reunions…there are so many kids from North Jersey, NYC, upstate NY and Mass you feel kinda like a minority as a 4 for 4 Philly guy. Does not feel like a Philly school while you are actually there, but I appreciate Jay trying his best to foster that feeling. Kind of like going to Sesame Place and wondering how the Hell that became the conflagration of all Jersey and NY trash when it’s in the middle of Langhorne.

    • It's Just That Simple March 20, 2019 at 12:51 pm

      THIS. I just read somewhere that 17 percent of Villanova undergrads are actually from the state of Pennsylvania. Location and demographics of Villanova ARE NOT Philly based. It’s as simple as that. I’m sick of this argument every March Madness.

    • Hooter March 20, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      100% correct, I live near Nova and drive through campus on may way to and from work. All NY and NJ plates. It’s regularly used as rich families backup for the Ivies.

    • John Napoli March 20, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      lol dude thats so true. how is it every single piece of trash from ny and nj can find seasme place but they cant find a dentist. i wish they would blow that dump up. from late may till september you cant even go near there

  • Deal With It March 20, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Villanova isn’t a Philly school and the Giants and Jets aren’t NYC teams. Facts are facts

  • The Kernal March 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I suppose this is what you consider “in depth” coverage, right, “expert”?

    Thanks for answering the questions we’ve all been wondering, this achievement is right up there with your keen observations on which last names get mispronounced during football season.

    Really, this work is revolutionary!

    • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      oh good, here comes “The Kernal” with his dumbass trolling, which is not funny and not creative

      • Mrs. Yoder March 20, 2019 at 7:35 pm

        Kevin, please remember your grammar and punctuation. You don’t want to start a nasty habit of typing like some sort of New Jersey troglodyte.

  • Bruh March 20, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Another year… and another shitty article about this. Saint Mary’s in a blowout.

  • Everyone March 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    I guess the bigger question is, “Who gives a sh1t”?

  • Frank the tank elegar March 20, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Let’s all just agree that Drexel, a true city school, is the number 1 Big 5 team.

  • tt March 20, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    nice work kinker. great comment board action too

  • Trump = Evil March 20, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    The reason I dislike Villanova is not out of jealously of their success or their proximity to the city. It’s because they don’t deserve it.

    I am a Temple guy. In the Martelli heyday I despised St Joe. About 5-7 years ago I got past his Goongate BS and came to feel the same way I do about La Salle, Penn and Drexel. I like them, support them and hope they win when they’re not facing Temple. But not Nova. Never Nova. Why?

    BECAUSE amid all the conference realignment around a decade ago, the Big East was breaking up. The rest of the conference wanted Temple to join. The football schools really did. 7 of the basketball schools were fine with it. Nova was not. Nova blocked it. The basketball schools all voted together so a Nova no was an everyone no, so Temple remained in the A-10/MAC. Bear in mind the Big East was going to split football/non football anyway, this was just playing out the string for a few years. Nova still blocked it. This game 20 years after Temple helped La Salle get into the A10.

    Now I know eventually when the Big East had 7 football schools, Temple joined because there was no other option. But they joined for football only and had to wait 1 year for basketball! And during that wait, the break up happened. Villanova was so scared of Temple joining their stupid conference. And you know what? Fine. They won 2 titles based off recruiting classes obtained during this period, where maybe 1 kid goes to Temple if they’re on the same level as Nova. So it worked for them. I’m happy.

    I still don’t like them and never will. What they did was brother on brother crime. I will not support them ever.

  • Chris rix March 20, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Would love to hear Kate Devlin opinion on this topic

  • DD March 20, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Ursinus is a Philly School too. Woot Woot..

    Why’s it matter anyway? They will be out pretty quick this year.

    • DD March 20, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      and you def wrote this to suck up to the boss. everyone does it. own it.

      • Kevin Kinkead March 20, 2019 at 1:32 pm

        you’re a troll douche, own it

        • DD March 20, 2019 at 1:58 pm

          I only come to read the comments. That’s the real content. The rest i can read on sports writer’s twitter.

          Troll is such a strong word. I think you are just angry people see through your shallow boss blowing article.

          and small feet, of course.

    • Kate Devlin March 20, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      My c unt needs a fisting.


  • Didn't go to Big 5 or PSU March 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    You ever notice that the same people who hate on Nova for not being a “philly team” are the same people who are die heart Penn State football fans? Grow up peter pan, count chocula…

  • Any school that is near Mikey Miss’s estate is not a city school March 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    It is the school for all the rich boys with a car phone as they used to say.

  • temple fans are frauds March 20, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    don’t support their team. went to game a few years back on a Saturday afternoon against the number 1 ranked Tennessee team. Building half full. super fan RIA wasn’t even there.
    F R A U D S

  • Natalie’s TaTas March 20, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Bottom line… take Nova out of the Big 5 and add Drexel.

  • Kate Devlin March 20, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Regardless if it’s a city school or not, it’s always fun to cheer on the student-athletes in our area! Hoping they go gangbusters in the tournament! Oh boy, should be fun!

    – Kate

  • So Taguchi - Phillies Legend March 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Wow, this topic really struck a cord. Just like Phish front man Trey Anastasio did at ‘The Great Went’ in August 1997, which I attended. But enough about me…college basketball sucks.

  • Heeeymissh March 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Even if you can argue they’re in Philly, they’re certainly not “Philly” from a cultural perspective. Jay Wright is the most Philly thing about that team.

  • Christopher moltisanti March 20, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Prestige and lasalle should never be used in the same sentence.

  • Mario the Pretty decent Dragon March 21, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Uhhh I noticed a couple typos in this article, kept referencing “Big 5” but didn’t see “City 6” anywhere… I’d appreciate if you could correct that error, thanks

  • Leave a Reply