Who's the top celebrity fan for every B1G school?

Every college, it seems, has at least one well-known celebrity backer, whether it be on the gridiron, the hardwood, the diamond or the mat. But who are those figures in the Big Ten? I asked our Twitter followers that very question, and then came up with this list of the top celebrity fans for all 14 Big Ten schools.

Here we go.

Illinois: Bill Murray

Born and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, Murray is a huge Fighting Illini fan. In fact, Murray followed the 2005 Illini hoops team from the Chicago Regional to the national title game and even gave the team a pep talk before a game. It was just this past year when Murray gave a panhandler a hard time about being from North Carolina before going on a rant about how UNC cheated Illinois out of a championship in 2005, and then, finally giving him money.

Honorable Mention: Dick Butkus



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Indiana: Mark Cuban

The owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks graduated from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business in 1981 with a B.S. in Business Administration. He is an avid Hoosier fan, and can be seen here in his IU football jersey, while waving the green flag to start the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Honorable Mention: John Mellencamp




Iowa: Ashton Kutcher

Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kutcher attended Iowa and is a lifelong Hawkeyes fan. He can be seen here with Iowa legend Dan Gable and actress Mila Kunis at this past season’s Penn State-Iowa wrestling match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Honorable Mention: Tom Arnold

Dan Gable, Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis


Maryland: Scott Van Pelt

This proud Maryland alum was born in Brookeville, Maryland and grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. Van Pelt is a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN, serves as the co-host of SVP & Russillo on ESPN Radio, and also hosts various golf events for the network.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Plank




Michigan: Kate Upton

One of the most well-known models in the world, Upton was born in St. Joseph, Michigan. She has been seen at several Michigan sporting events, including the 2013 National Championship Game, in which her Twitter interaction with Wolverine point guard Spike Albrecht became a national story.

Honorable Mention: Russell Crowe




Michigan State: Magic Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Magic is no sidewalk alum. He led the Spartans to that magical 1979 National Championship, has a statue in his honor in front of the Breslin Center, and is known as the face of Michigan State basketball. He’s not only a fan, he is Michigan State athletics.

Honorable Mention: Kid Rock

NCAA Basketball: Division I Championship-Louisville vs Michigan State


Minnesota: Tony Dungy

One of the school’s most prestigious alumni, Dungy attended the University of Minnesota from 1973-1977, while staring on the Gophers’ football team. In addition to playing at Minnesota, Dungy also served as an assistant coach for the Gophers following his playing career and remains one of the top supporters of the football program.

Honorable Mention: Yanni





Nebraska: Larry the Cable Guy

Daniel Lawrence “Larry” Whitney, better known as Larry the Cable Guy, was born and raised on a pig farm in Pawnee City, Nebraska. The stand-up comedian is well known across Husker country as being one of the top Nebraska football supporters around, regardless of his celebrity status. This photo is certainly evidence of that.

Honorable Mention: Warren Buffett


Associated Press


Northwestern: Seth Meyers

Not only is Seth Meyers a die-hard Northwestern fan, but he was also born in the school’s backyard, right in Evanston, Illinois. Meyers is the former head writer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and currently hosts Late Night with Seth Meyers, which premiered earlier this year. He is one of many well-known TV personalities who strongly support Northwestern football.

Honorable Mention: Stephen Colbert

Homecoming_P 33 A_29D_slideshow



Ohio State: LeBron James

Arguably the most famous athlete in the world, LeBron James has made it clear that he would have attended Ohio State had he not gone directly from high school to the NBA. James has been on the OSU sideline, he has spoken to the team, and he even has his own locker at Ohio State’s Value City Arena.

Honorable Mention: Vince Vaughn




Penn State: Ryan Seacrest

One of the top television personalities around, Ryan Seacrest is a big Penn State fan. He has been spotted at Penn State sporting events, including this 2009 game against Ohio State in State College.

Honorable Mention: Lisa Salters




Purdue: Drew Brees

It’s been nearly 14 years since Brees threw his last touchdown pass in a Purdue uniform, but he always tries to find time to show his college colors. Despite enjoying a standout NFL career, Brees makes it a point to show his constant support, as he did by attending the 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Honorable mention: Jim Gaffigan

Drew Brees


Rutgers: Mario Batali

This well-known American chef and media personality is all Rutgers University, through and through. An alum of the school, Batali is one of the school’s top supporters, often sporting the school’s colors.

Honorable Mention: Natalie Morales




Wisconsin: Andy North

North, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is known as one of the top supporters of Wisconsin athletics. Born in Thorp, Wisconsin, and raised in Monona, Wisconsin, North makes it a point to cheer on the Badgers on a regular basis, no matter where they may be playing.

Honorable Mention: Steve Stricker

2010_Illinois 004



Your Opinion?
Show Comments (69 Comments)
Scott on 7/25/2014 @ 9:42am EDT Said:

Mario Batali is not an alumni of Rutgers. He is an alumnus. Alumni is always plural.

Dennis on 7/25/2014 @ 9:42am EDT Said:

Come on man, Tom Arnold is a way bigger Hawk fan than Kutcher, even though he may not be as famous.

msumatt1990 on 7/25/2014 @ 9:46am EDT Said:

I’d choose James Caan over Kid Rock – at least Jimmy went to MSU. He played for Duffy. Also gave a memorable peptalk via College Gameday and has been the Homecoming Parade Grand Marshall

Nicholas Pietryga on 7/25/2014 @ 9:51am EDT Said:

You know that Russell Crowe is a huge Michigan fan, and a lot bigger celebrity than Kate Upton.

Shawn on 7/25/2014 @ 9:51am EDT Said:

Stricker went to Illinois…what about Madonna at Michigan?

Sara on 7/25/2014 @ 9:53am EDT Said:

I live in Champaign and the tv stations are always keeping up with Steve Stricker, he is from Wisconsin but he went to Illinois for golf. I don’t follow golf so I may be missing why he is listed under Wisconsin.

Ashley on 7/25/2014 @ 9:54am EDT Said:

Kutcher didn’t graduate from Iowa….

Plop on 7/25/2014 @ 9:59am EDT Said:

Isn’t it sort of cheating to count former athletes at the school as the top celebrity fan?

Also, it says a lot about us, as a people, that BTN, when given the choice between Larry the Cable Guy and Warren Buffett as the top celebrity Nebraska fan, chose Larry the Cable Guy.

Kyle on 7/25/2014 @ 10:30am EDT Said:

This is about ‘celebrity fans’, not ‘most famous alumni.’ It doesn’t matter that Kutcher didn’t graduate Iowa or Stricker did graduate from Illinois – they both root for the team they’re listed under.

chris on 7/25/2014 @ 10:32am EDT Said:

I know he is dead but wouldn’t Neil Armstrong have been a better pick for Purdue fan? Or maybe Hermain Cain or even Jim Gaffigan? Also thanks for remembering to give us an honorable mention.

Heidi on 7/25/2014 @ 10:33am EDT Said:

Why is Aaron Rodgers not mentioned as a fan of Wisconsin?

Ginger on 7/25/2014 @ 10:37am EDT Said:

We have to have someone better than Lebron…the only worse option would’ve been Kirk Herbstreit.

ATL on 7/25/2014 @ 10:39am EDT Said:

The Wisconsin Honorable Mention is just trolling Illini fans.

Ransom Stoddard on 7/25/2014 @ 10:40am EDT Said:

It can’t be a good statement on your school when a celebutard like Ryan Secrest is your most visible supporter

Bill Blake on 7/25/2014 @ 10:42am EDT Said:

purdue’s celebrity is actually somebody who played there, and there’s no honorable mention. boiler up insignificant!

Sean on 7/25/2014 @ 10:52am EDT Said:

Gandolfini is in the picture with Mario Batalli! He was a way more famous alum

theotherbigone on 7/25/2014 @ 10:57am EDT Said:

Totally disagree that Tom Arnold is a bigger fan. Ashton attends a variety of Hawkeye sporting events quite frequently. And he is there to watch the activity, not use it as a photo op.

theotherbigone on 7/25/2014 @ 11:00am EDT Said:

It is very doubtful that Arnold graduated from any university, much less Iowa – he went to school with my husband and he did not think he really “graduated” from high school.

porcupinefisheats on 7/25/2014 @ 11:06am EDT Said:

How did PSU end up with Georgia native and UGA alumnus Ryan Seacrest?

I’d have to place Hillary Clinton at the top of the list, as she grew up in Scranton, and both her father and brother played football at PSU,

Steve on 7/25/2014 @ 11:07am EDT Said:

Melencamp is a much bigger fan than Cuban, he is at many basketball games, and still lives in the area. This article is inane.

Barbara Kellar on 7/25/2014 @ 11:27am EDT Said:

Love the choice of Lebron for top Buckeye fan. However Cris Carter got robbed of the 2nd slot.

Tundra gopher on 7/25/2014 @ 11:27am EDT Said:

Article has to be a troll. Yanni? Good grief. Ever hear of monitor, Winfield, and other famous sport celebs? Yanni?

Steve on 7/25/2014 @ 11:36am EDT Said:

Um, Michigan, you win.

MSU Mike in SC on 7/25/2014 @ 11:38am EDT Said:

I’m sure Gerard Butler is a big MSU fan especially visiting the school post 300 to “inspire the troops!”

Chuck on 7/25/2014 @ 11:44am EDT Said:

* Hillary Clinton was not raised in Pennsylvania. She was born in Chicago and graduated high school at Maine East High School in Park Ridge IL, the same high school as Harrison Ford. There is no way she grew up in Pennsylvania.

* Steve Stricker is from Wisconsin but went to the University of Illinois on a golf scholarship. His wife went to Wisconsin. He roots for Illinois but he roots for Wisconsin as well. I wouldn’t call him the second biggest celebrity fan of Wisconsin because he still roots for Illinois first.

B Miller on 7/25/2014 @ 12:00pm EDT Said:

Mario Batali’s daughter will be a student at Michigan starting in the fall.

Saltyseadog on 7/25/2014 @ 12:16pm EDT Said:

Several of these “celebrities” would be anonymous in a lineup of educated sports fans or average “joes”. Oh..look…it’s Andy North…not so much.

r sukovaty on 7/25/2014 @ 12:34pm EDT Said:

i think of course larry the cable guy, but also supreme court justice clarence thomas is a huge nebraska football fan!!!!

D. Senesac on 7/25/2014 @ 12:46pm EDT Said:

Kate Upton, REALLY???!!! Not even close, there are so many more famous and outstanding celebrity fans other than a washed up model has-been. This article borders on insane inaccuracies…GET A CLUE!!!

veryphil on 7/25/2014 @ 12:52pm EDT Said:

Tom Brokaw is a Hawkeye fan and U of Iowa alumnus. He’s not as visible publicly these days. I’m only making the suggestion because both of the mentioned celebutards are embarrassing.

veryphil on 7/25/2014 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

Also, SVP did not graduate from Maryland and is therefore not an alum.

porcupinefisheats on 7/25/2014 @ 12:54pm EDT Said:

Ok, you got me. Hillary Clinton was raised in IL, BUT both her brother and father (both Hugh) played football at Penn State…….and the Rodham family is from Scranton.


Rick on 7/25/2014 @ 1:03pm EDT Said:

Heidi wrote, “Why is Aaron Rodgers not mentioned as a fan of Wisconsin?”

You do know Rodgers is a Cal guy right. What makes you think he is a huge Badgers fan? Based on one visit to the locker room after a tournament win against Baylor? Please! Get out of your drunken stupor and get a grip on reality. I know that’s asking a bit much from any Wisky fan, but one can hope.

J Trott on 7/25/2014 @ 1:49pm EDT Said:

I would have gone for jack Nicklaus for Ohio State.his golf museum is right on campus

Elise on 7/25/2014 @ 1:53pm EDT Said:

Steve Stricker was born in Wisconsin but played golf for The University of Illinois. My guess is he is an Illini fan!!!!!

artweb on 7/25/2014 @ 2:06pm EDT Said:

This is a fun list and always controversial, but Kevin Plank should have been Number One for Maryland. Kevin played fullback on the Maryland football team. He developed the material that now totally dominates the sport’s world. He is CEO of Under Armour and the Number One financial supporter of the athletic department at Maryland.

OhioStateisdumb on 7/25/2014 @ 2:09pm EDT Said:

derek jeter is a bigger michigan fan than anybody you listed

Christel on 7/25/2014 @ 2:17pm EDT Said:

Ginger said exactly what I was thinking!

Al on 7/25/2014 @ 2:19pm EDT Said:

I agree that former athletes shouldn’t count. Kind of lame.

Leon on 7/25/2014 @ 2:48pm EDT Said:

Mario Batali for Rutgers?? The pic BTN is using is of Batali with our most famous alumnus, the boss of North Jersey, Tony Soprano aka Mr. Gandolfini. He was a season ticket holder for football games and even did the coin toss for our bowl game in 2005.

Rick on 7/25/2014 @ 3:02pm EDT Said:

Pains me to say it, but
on two occasions that I’ve gone to Madison to watch my beloved Illini play basketball, Stricker was in attendance wearing a Wisconsin cap. They can have him.

Kc McKinney on 7/25/2014 @ 3:07pm EDT Said:

Cory Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame is a Hawkeye fan and hes better than those two…

Bedrock120 on 7/25/2014 @ 3:53pm EDT Said:

We love Larry the Cable Guy, very funny and a big supporter, but bigger than Warren Buffett? Debatable if Larry is bigger than Andy Roddick.

mikeefren@yahoo.com on 7/25/2014 @ 4:13pm EDT Said:

Seriously? You’re going to complain about Kate Upton being a fan of your team? Go back and take another look. All we got was Ryan Seacrest. Wanna trade??

Cosmk Dbree on 7/25/2014 @ 4:14pm EDT Said:

I think the Honorable Mention list is more impressive.

spartyon on 7/25/2014 @ 4:26pm EDT Said:

Magic Johnson is a no-doubt – but the gentleman with the glasses to his left-front is Peter Secchia – From 1989 to 1993 Secchia served as the US Ambassador to Italy. While he isn’t nationally well known, he’s most likely a worthy debate to Kid Rock (or Gerard Butler)!

Stacey Howland Liston on 7/25/2014 @ 4:35pm EDT Said:

Tony Stewart is a HUGE Hoosier fan. So what NASCAR drivers are not considered “athletes” or celebrities in your book?

Joshua Palmer on 7/25/2014 @ 5:07pm EDT Said:

sorry but everybody knows Vince Vaughn is a huge golden domer fan…and yeah Michigan wins.

Terry Head on 7/25/2014 @ 6:22pm EDT Said:

Andy North (Fla) and Steve Stricker (Ill). North is a huge Bucky fan and Steve is the favorite golfer from Wisconsin. He did marry the Badgers old golf coach! Butch Vig graduated from Wisconsin and loves Bucky!

jeff on 7/25/2014 @ 8:22pm EDT Said:

Hugh Hefner also graduated from Illinois, but I don’t know how big of a “fan” he is

Phil Zamra on 7/25/2014 @ 11:36pm EDT Said:

Magic is definitely the MSU ambassador but Kirk Gibson, Mateen Cleaves or Steve Smith should be the Honorable Mention.

gunnyze7 on 7/25/2014 @ 11:38pm EDT Said:

Magic is definitely the MSU ambassador but Honorable Mention should go to Kirk Gibson, Mateen Cleaves or Steve Smith

Adam Peck on 7/26/2014 @ 2:16am EDT Said:

I’m a Spartan who’s reluctant to admit it, but I’m pretty sure Leo DiCaprio is a Wolverine fan.

Michael Moore is known for wearing an MSU hat, but I’m not really sure how I feel about that, haha.

themurph2000 on 7/26/2014 @ 2:29am EDT Said:

I’m pretty sure Illinois wins this competition by a landslide.

Jason Marye on 7/26/2014 @ 9:06am EDT Said:

Where is Dan Dakich in this mix?

GW from UMD on 7/26/2014 @ 9:17am EDT Said:

Kevin Plank is absolutely the choice for UMD. Scott Van Pelt is a big fan but I think Kevin is the hands down winner.

Stephen on 7/26/2014 @ 11:00am EDT Said:

It’s ironic that both of Wisconsin’s celebrity fans are golfers, but their golf team is one of the worst in the B1G.

oyoloromoso on 7/26/2014 @ 12:25pm EDT Said:

Michael Phelps, Madonna, Derek Jeter, James Earl Jones… and they go with Kate Upton

Big Bill on 7/26/2014 @ 7:17pm EDT Said:

Using former athletes from the school isn’t lame. Just lazy.

Chris on 7/26/2014 @ 11:07pm EDT Said:

Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 champion Ryan Newman is a Purdue graduate

tweener8292 on 7/26/2014 @ 11:11pm EDT Said:

Brickyard 400 and Daytona 500 Champion Ryan Newman is a Purdue graduate.

tweener8292 on 7/26/2014 @ 11:13pm EDT Said:

Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon (Apollo 17) is a Purdue graduate. We can say we have the first AND the last….

Robert Shaffer on 7/27/2014 @ 9:39am EDT Said:

Megyn Kelly loves UM and Gretta from FOX, roots for Wisconsin

Erik on 7/28/2014 @ 7:29am EDT Said:

Rebecca “Becky” Quick of CNBC is a huge RU supporter and former Editor-in-Chief of the school newspapaer, The Daily Targum.

ipsler gonkler on 7/28/2014 @ 10:49am EDT Said:

Penn State fan — Bruce Banner better known as “The Hulk” — fictional I know.

Paul on 7/28/2014 @ 11:13am EDT Said:

Ryan Sechrest for Penn State. None of we loyal and fervent PSU fans even knew he had even heard of Penn State! Lisa Salter okay. How about Franco Harris, Terry Pegula or many others?

G Wilke on 7/28/2014 @ 9:55pm EDT Said:

James Earl Jones at umich.

Tennisnut on 7/29/2014 @ 2:15pm EDT Said:

Lara Spencer, a co-anchor on Good Morning America is a PSU grad.

Stepterr on 7/29/2014 @ 5:27pm EDT Said:

Seems like the author just did a google search for celebrities wearing school apparel and nothing more.