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Mr. Ticket Puncher

As the Norse battle for the league championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, one former student is bringing NKU fans to Detroit —literally by the busload—to cheer them on.

Photo provided by Christopher Boggs

By Brent Donaldson
Editor, NKU Magazine

The texts and Tweets started flying around 2 p.m. yesterday—only five hours before the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team would beat Youngstown State and earn their shot at a Horizon League title and a possible berth in the NCAA D-I tournament.

Was it true? Was someone really offering NKU students a last-minute, all-expenses-paid trip to the Motor City Madness Horizon League Tournament in Detroit?

“I can confirm that this is a thing that’s happening,” retweeted NKU’s student newspaper, The Northerner. “*IF NKU WINS TONIGHT,” reads the original post from yesterday afternoon, “there will be a bus leaving from BB&T Arena at 9:30 a.m. There are 55 spots on the bus and they are first come, first serve. The cost of the bus, game ticket, AND hotel for the night will be covered by a very generous alumnus of Northern Kentucky University.”

With NKU’s victory over Youngstown last night, word about the offer spread quickly. When throngs of students showed up early this morning and filled the bus, a passenger van was added to squeeze in a few more.

The man who made this impromptu road trip possible is Christopher Boggs, a former NKU communications major who wanted to share the joy he felt in rooting the Norse over Wright State in Detroit on Sunday. Today, Boggs operates his own financial and retirement planning business that he started 17 years ago in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But NKU is a place that still lives within his heart—a place where he says he learned so much about life both in and out of the classroom. To Boggs, NKU is materfamilias, a “her,” wise and caring.


“NKU gave me more than I'll ever be able give back to her,” Boggs says. “I could go into a long diatribe about NKU helping me grow, teaching me leadership, the vast mentors—but let's leave it at this: I'll never be able to give back to NKU what she’s given me.”

With dozens of students taking him up on the offer and representing a substantial cost, Boggs has been barraged with texts and questions in the last 24 hours, asking why he’s doing this or worrying that he’s nuts.

“Please don't,” he says. “I am very calculated.”

Growing up, Boggs’s family had little money. That didn’t change when Boggs arrived at NKU, where he remembers wanting to hang out and explore the world with his peers and friends, but at times not being able to afford the basic expenses for a night out. Now he wants to share some joy with students who may be in the same boat.

“I'm giving back to the institution that gave so much to me,” Boggs says. “I don't need a pat on the back. I do this expecting nothing. In life, I want to try and give more than I receive, and I get so much satisfaction seeing things I do bring joy and happiness to someone's day. It’s all good.”

Boggs often travels from Louisiana to watch the Norse play on their home turf, and says that seeing the team on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament—in their first year of post-season eligibility—is something that he didn’t imagine.

“Every NKU basketball season is fun and exciting, no matter how many wins or losses,” he says. “But to watch the team come together this year and make a historic run to the Horizon League championship game has been an amazing experience. I just wanted to do my small part to help show the team how much this University and this community supports them."

Didn’t make it to Detroit? Cheer on the Norse at Barleycorn’s in Cold Spring, Kentucky, where you’ll enjoy drink specials as well as food, prizes and more—all sponsored by the NKU Alumni Association!

Tip-off at 7 p.m. Barleycorn’s, 1073 Industrial Rd., Cold Spring, KY