UM ‘scrimmage’ features new look Wolverines
JON KNIGHT THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Coach Brady Hoke crtiques his players at the Spring Game on Saturday, April 16.
The annual University of Michigan spring football game usually provides fans with enough to hold them over until the fall. This year’s “game” was actually a scrimmage that didn’t feature a clock, and was more of an open practice.
The contest opened up with the first-team defense playing against the first-team offense led by quarterback Denard Robinson.
On the first play from scrimmage Robinson escaped pressure and bolted downfield for a 56-yard run that electrified the crowd at Michigan Stadium. It would be one of the few highlights for Robinson and the entire offense on the day.
“I think I did okay,” said Robinson, referring to his limited performance that featured two interceptions and numerous problems fumbling the snap. Robinson went 5-for-14 passing for 70 yards and clearly struggled at times passing the ball.
Wide receiver Darryl Stonum wasn’t worried about Robinson’s performance adding, “He can throw the ball, let me tell you.”
Backup quarterback Devin Gardner looked better in the air, but also threw two interceptions. He too felt he only played “okay.”
Running back Mike Cox had the day’s biggest play on offense, breaking a 68-yard touchdown run early in the scrimmage. Cox set the tone early and stood out among the other running backs. However, the rest of the day belonged to the defense.
The pressure was on the defense to show signs of improvement. At first glance it would seem that they were up to task, but there were still obvious holes.
JON KNIGHT THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Back-up quarterback, Devin Gardener carries the ball against the second-team defense.
The Wolverines showcased a new defensive line that featured tackle Mike Martin playing both tackle and defensive end at times. The change is expected to help Martin’s ability to make plays.
“When you have playmakers, you have to put them in position to make plays,” said defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.
Martin said he was surprised to learn about the idea, but looks forward to exposing mismatches once the season rolls around.
One of the stars of the game was safety Jake Ryan, who has impressed his coaches with his work ethic and intensity during spring practice, and it showed during the game. Ryan had two interceptions and a sack while also contributing to help stop the run from deep in the secondary.
But the defense did give up big plays, which was a huge problem last season.
The kicking game did not show any sign of improvement; none of the kickers made a field goal outside of 30-yards.
“I’m glad we don’t open up tomorrow,” said coach Brady Hoke after the scrimmage. “We have a lot of work to do.”
A return to glory? Some Wolverines fans think so
Fans tailgate and get sneak peak at UM football team
After the three of the toughest years in the long and storied history of the University of Michigan football program, fans were looking forward to seeing the new look Wolverines at the annual spring game.
And they liked what they saw.
“The excitement is back,” said Aaron Amshay, 35, from Waterford, as he and fellow football fan Larry Lesinski, 35, also from Waterford, set up their tailgate.
Yes, there was a different feeling in the air surrounding the Big House.
“I want to see if the defense has a rush,” Kelly Matlow Sr., 60, of Kalamazoo, said before the April 16 game.
Mazlow and his son Kelly Jr., 25, from Benton Harbor, pulled into the Pioneer High School parking lot at 5:30 a.m. to set up their tailgate for the spring game.
“Any chance I get to tailgate, I’ll be here,” Kelly Jr. said as he pinned pineapple to a ham to prep their meal. “You can’t lose when you tailgate.”
While fans were enjoying a rare chance to tailgate in the spring, the main reason for the day was to see what changes had been made to a team that has struggled to be consistent for the last three seasons.
The most popular topic was how the defense would improve after being the worst in school history last season. Fans wanted to see how defensive lineman Will Campbell would react to moving back to the defensive line, and if the Wolverines could limit big plays.
Another popular topic was how duel-threat quarterback Denard Robinson would respond to changing styles on offense. Robinson has been moved from a spread offense into a pro-style offense. Fans wanted to see how his game might change as he adapted to the new offense.
And on the first play, Robinson broke off a 50-yard run, reassuring fans that he can still make plays with his feet.
Coach Brady Hoke has said the team will be tough and hit hard. That message has been met with great reception by his team and by former players.
“He will be a great coach, great recruiter and he makes guys tough,” said former offensive lineman Dave Pearson, who also added that watching the games over the last three years was tough.
After the spring game, fans were optimistic about what they saw.
“The defense looked great,” said Garrett Morse, 28, who drove from Rothford, Ohio.
Morse was part of a tailgate group that was pleased with what they saw from the team they felt would be better than average this season.
“I’m saying 8-4,” said Ryan Riedmaier, 34, from Erie, Ohio, when asked for a prediction.
One thing is for certain: Fans will once again spend their Saturdays this fall following the maize and blue, regardless of the team’s record.
“It’s still tradition, it’s still Michigan football,” said Lesinski. “Besides, it’s Saturday. What else are you gonna do?”
UM hockey plays for national championship
Bruce Bisping courtesy photo
North Dakota’s Ben Blood and Michigan’s Louie Caporusso, right, battle for the puck at the Xcel Energy Center.
Thanks to spectacular goaltending and a shutdown defense, the University of Michigan men’s hockey team finished their season playing for a national championship.
Goalie Shawn Hunwick recorded 40 saves in the 2-0 victory for the Wolverines last Thursday night to set up Saturday’s championship showdown.
UM was scheduled to play the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on Saturday night in the national championship game held in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota-Duluth advanced to the championship game with a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame.
went to print before that game was played. Check washtenawvoice.com for updates.
Hunwick’s most spectacular series of saves came in the final minute of the game. Hunwick kept his composure and made two game-saving stops as North Dakota fought back furiously.
The Wolverines were clearly out-played, out-sized and out-matched all game long but they were able to clog up the ice enough to keep the high-scoring Fighting Sioux offense off the board.
North Dakota entered the game as the second-highest scoring team in the nation, but was shut out for only the third time all season. The Wolverines followed their game-plan and used their stingy defense to frustrate the Sioux early and often.
Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT
Michigan players celebrate as time expires during the third period of a 2-1 victory over Colorado College in the NCAA men’s hockey West regional championship at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, March 26, 2011.
UM senior forward Ben Winnet scored 13:26 into to first period on a broken play in front of Sioux net minder Aaron Dell. That goal would be the lone highlight for the UM offense as the majority of the Wolverines’ time was spent in their own zone playing defense.
It wasn’t pretty, but UM was able to keep the Sioux offense away from the front of the net and limited second-chance shots on net. The few times that ND was able to push the pace, Hunwick was up to the task.
And considering how the season started, no one would have guessed Hunwick would lead the team to a championship game.
Hunwick started the season as the No. 3 option in goal for coach Red Berenson. Even his teammates said they weren’t sure about Hunwick once he got the starting job. But in the end, they were relying in him to stand on his head one last time.
For Berenson, it was the third national championship game he has coached. He won both of his previous two appearances in 1996 and 1998. The program was seeking its 10th NCAA championship.
Students: ‘Nerd must go’
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Students at the University of Michigan Diag protest the choice of Gov. Rick Snyder as 2011 commencement speaker.
Ah spring. Emerging life, warmth, sunshine, flowers —and campus protests.
About 100 students gathered on the University of Michigan Diag on March 16 to protest the selection of Gov. Rick Snyder as the university’s 2011 commencement speaker.
The Wednesday afternoon protest followed Sunday’s announcement that university President Mary Sue Coleman had chosen Snyder to deliver the keynote address. Principal protest organizer Zach Goldsmith found the selection absurd and labeled Snyder “Michigan’s number one enemy of public education.”
Protest speakers noted that Snyder’s state budget includes a 15 percent cut in state funding for institutions of higher learning and the elimination of tax credits for private donations to public universities.
The students shouted chants including: “Rick is wrong!”; “Reconsider Rick!”; “Funding for schools not fools!;” and “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho, Rick Snyder has got to go!”
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Student protestors crowd into to the office of University president Mary Sue Coleman to express outrage over the choice of Governor Snyder as 2011 commencement speaker.
For about 30 minutes, leaders fired up the crowd on the Diag with a catalog of perceived outrages, and then the protesters began to march. They marched through the campus buildings to the Fleming Administration Building and up the stairs to the office of the president.
Coleman was not present, but the president’s assistant and other administration officials heard the protesters’ demands. Afterwards, the protestors dispersed.
A 22-year-old political science major from Ypsilanti, Goldsmith referred to himself as “simply a pissed-off senior.” He said the protest was not orchestrated by any particular campus organization. He plans to deliver a petition to authorities, which includes 4,100 signatures of students, st aff and alumni opposing the selection of Snyder.
Goldsmith is the vice president for education of the student-operated University of Michigan Inter-Cooperative Council.
Best team in the state? Michigan
The University of Michigan basketball team is the best team in the state of Michigan, and there really is no argument.
With wins over Oakland University and Michigan State University on the road, Michigan has beaten both of the state’s NCAA tournament contenders.
While I agree that there’s no way Michigan has the most talented player in the state, it has played more team-oriented basketball than Oakland or Michigan State. Michigan was expected to have a rather lackluster year as a result of its inexperience and lack of size. However, the Wolverines have overcome what the critics have said and built a 16-11 record heading into the final month of the season.
Michigan State may have the most talented roster in the state, but the Spartans certainly aren’t playing like a team — especially as of late. A 20-point loss to a bad Iowa team is a prime example — that same Iowa team was beaten by Michigan 87-73 on Jan. 30.
Recently, the Michigan basketball team has seen a bit of change, which could be the reason for the recent success. While Coach John Beilein’s system usually relies on shooting three pointers and playing zone defense, Michigan has taken a more typical approach to the game. Center Jordan Morgan has come on strong recently, most notably with a 27-point performance against Northwestern on Feb. 9.
Another change has been the play of Tim Hardaway Jr. He’s been seen driving the basketball to the hoop more, and it’s clearly paid off. He racked up 26 points in a four-point victory over Indiana on Feb. 12.
While Michigan has hit its stride at the right time in the season, Michigan State’s slump has occurred since early January, when it lost to Penn State on the road. Rebounding with two quick victories against Wisconsin and Northwestern, Michigan State lost three consecutive games, and five of six in a three-week span.
A slump is three to four games, not an entire month. Within that month of lackluster basketball, Michigan State also dismissed one of its team leaders, in junior guard Korie Lucious. He was playing almost 25 minutes per game for the Spartans, and the team lost three of its next five games without him.
The argument for Oakland as the best team in the state also seems to be moot. Oakland owned an 18-9 record, but most of its wins have been against weak Summit League contenders. Oakland has played the 136th-ranked schedule, according to NCAA RPI ranking, which is essentially the BCS of college basketball. In comparison, Michigan has played the 18th-ranked schedule.
So there really is no comparison at this point. Michigan basketball is the strongest team in the state and for that to change, the Wolverines must be defeated by one of their in-state rivals.
UM athletics to renovate, revamp more sports venues
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Above and below, construction continues outside Crisler Arena at the Universtiy of Michigan.
Just when you thought that the hype around Michigan sports was calming, the athletic department made another headline-grabbing announcement – worth more than $52 million.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted unanimously on Jan. 20 to install new high-definition video scoreboards at Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena. The new screens will be installed at each of the venues prior to the 2011-12 seasons, according to a university news release.
“We are excited about the conversion to HD and the installation of LED boards at our three biggest venues,”
Athletic Director Dave Brandon said in a statement released by the university. “These new boards will provide our fans with the opportunity for enhanced and crystal-clear viewing of not only the event, but of replays, announcements and other fun ways to create game day excitement.”
While Brandon is excited, he’s certainly not the only fan who’s giddy about the project.
“I believe the new renovations at Crisler are great,” said 19-year-old business student, Christopher Ball. “To fill the arena, first and foremost you need a product on the court and coach (John) Beilein is working towards that. But improving the environment at Crisler goes a long way towards helping that, as well.”
The estimated cost of that project alone was $20 million, but the Board of Regents didn’t stop there. Soon after, the university announced its plans to proceed with Phase Two of the renovations of Crisler Arena, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play their home games.
The expansion will add about 63,000 square feet to the arena, and will also include new fan entrances, additional retail spaces, ticketing areas and a private club space.
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
“The new HD scoreboard is going to help with the modernization that they’re looking to do,” said Ball, “but everything with regards to improving the concourse and entrances are nice.”
Despite what seems to be much-needed renovations to the facilities, some fans believe that the money could have also been better used elsewhere.
“I think (the money) could be going to other things,” said lifelong UM fan Nick Gonzales, 21, of Tecumseh. “If they want to update and upgrade every part of the arena, then I say go for it. I’m sure they have plenty of money to do it.”
The expansion will also improve seating for people with disabilities, and every seat in the arena will be replaced, university officials said.
“The renovations will take our classic facility and make it a first-class, modern venue that will be among the best in the country,” Brandon said. “Our goal is to create a home-court advantage for our teams while making the fan experience memorable from the moment they walk into the arena.”
The Crisler Arena project will be funded by Athletic Resources and Gifts, while the high-definition scoreboard project is set to be funded by “internal resources.”
A word to the UM wise: KEEP HOKE ALIVE
It took three of the most unsuccessful years in Michigan football history, but ties with former head coach Rich Rodriguez were finally, mercifully, cut loose by the University of Michigan. Several days later, Brady Hoke was introduced as its new man.
Rodriguez won just 15 games in his three years at the university, which will get you relieved of duties from most programs the caliber of Michigan’s. But did he ever really stand a chance?
Would Rodriguez have even accepted the job if he knew what he had in store for him once he stepped onto the Ann Arbor campus?
“I don’t think Rich Rodriguez has had a peaceful night’s sleep since he arrived in Ann Arbor,” said Athletic Director David Brandon at a Jan. 5 press conference. “I think the three years can somewhat be defined by three years of turmoil; it seems like it was one thing after another.”
And it was.
Whether it was the media, fan base, or former UM players, it seemed like Rodriguez was always being targeted. During his tenure, the very foundation of the program was collapsing.
Has the Michigan faithful learned their lesson, though?
While the Rodriguez era has come to a close in Ann Arbor, and likely will never be forgotten, lifelong UM enthusiast and former Wolverines defensive line coach (1995–2002) Hoke has taken this town by storm. But is this positive or negative?
Michigan fans have no choice: it needs to be positive. Fans must support Hoke and his program.
He may not be the flashiest or most qualified candidate for the job, but Hoke will do great things for the Michigan football program — given the chance. Most importantly, he wants to be in Ann Arbor. Hoke said he would have walked to Michigan for this job.
“I called him at the first earliest opportunity and made the offer and he accepted it,” said Brandon at a Jan. 12 press conference. “We never talked about what he was going to be paid. The only guy that I’ve ever heard of that took a job without knowing what it paid was (Bo) Schembechler.”
With every head coach of a major university comes criticism — it may as well be in the job description. However, giving Hoke grief before he ever gets the chance to recruit a player, coach a game or develop any of his players is ludicrous.
Sure, Hoke has a less-than-sterling overall record of 47–50 (granted he’s only coached two lackluster football programs), but that doesn’t determine the success he’s capable of having while coaching at Michigan. Gene Chizik was hired to coach Auburn after compiling a 5–19 record while at Iowa State. Two years removed from that program, Chizik rebuilt Auburn and recently won a National Championship, not to mention National Coach of the Year honors in 2010.
Michigan has been a “house divided,” over the past few years, according to Brandon, and it’s time for the Wolverines fans to realize that to not support the coach is to not support the program.
So far, the biggest gripe regarding Hoke has been his recruiting efforts. To most, it’s unknown whether or not Hoke will be a good enough recruiter to succeed at Michigan.
What most have forgotten, though, is that Hoke has been here once already and has recruited great players to the university. In his first stint at Michigan, Hoke was the lead recruiter of players like quarterback Tom Brady, running back Justin Fargas, cornerback Leon Hall and defensive end and linebacker Larry Stevens.
Gather up behind your coach UM fans, unless you really enjoyed these last three years.
Rebuilding under way at UM as Hoke takes reins
University of Michigan coach Brady Hoke has begun work to rebuild the legacy of the tarnished football program.
His focus has been on putting together a staff of coaches while also pursuing talent to commit to playing for the Wolverines through recruiting.
Hoke has already filled the major positions on his coaching staff. Al Borges was named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was the offensive coordinator at San Diego State, where Hoke was head coach for the past two seasons.
Greg Mattison will be leading things on the defensive side of the ball. Mattison is returning to Ann Arbor after 15 seasons away from the program. Mattison is an experienced defensive coordinator in the college ranks and in the NFL, most recently with the Baltimore Ravens, which boast one of the league’s most feared defenses.
With the most important parts of his staff filled, Hoke is now focusing on refilling the talent pool at Michigan. However, because Athletic Director David Brandon waited so long to name his head coach, Hoke is trying to play catch-up in regards to talking with players and convincing them that UM is where they want to spend the next four years.
Several recruits who committed to UM when Rich Rodriguez was still coach have de-committed.
Five-star running back (according to Rivals.com) Demetrius Hart decided Ann Arbor was not for him and left for Alabama. The Wolverines recently lost offensive lineman Jacob Fisher of Traverse City, a three-star recruit who has visited Michigan State since de-committing.
Quarterback Tate Forcier has also left the team after two seasons in Ann Arbor. Forcier announced his decision via his Twitter account last week.
Making matters worse, the players who remain committed are not the top-tier quality that UM was accustomed to before the Rodriguez era began. UM was routinely one of the top-10 classes each year in comparison to the other football programs around the country. After a disastrous three-year span, Hoke is trying to restore faith in players that UM remains an elite football program.
Hoke started his campaign by looking at the state of Michigan and the Midwest as his focal points for recruits. He also takes pride in being more involved in the recruiting process than many head coaches and said he plans on playing a very aggressive, physical style of football, much like the style he coached in the 90s when he was a positions coach at UM.
As of press time, Hoke had only added one player to the list of commitments he inherited, three-star cornerback Tamani Carter, from the same school in California that produced former Wolverines cornerback Leon Hall, now with the Cincinnati Bengals.
While it is highly unlikely that UM will turn things around right away with recruiting, the additions of both Borges and Mattison give UM fans a reason to believe that a return to glory may happen a lot sooner than later.
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL MAKES IT LOOK EASY
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Carolyn Chemello stands along State Street announcing $25 parking spots on a rainy Saturday morning before a UM home football game.
For its fans, the University of Michigan football is a religion. For others, it’s a social event. For many more, it’s survival.
Even if the Wolverines lose, Ann Arbor always wins during the season that brings almost 200,000 people to the city every game, and economic gains for many.
“Michigan Football puts Ann Arbor on the map,” said Kevin Nelson, 44, of Ann Arbor, an alumnus of the 1988 class of the College of Engineering at UM.
The game touches not only the city, but all its inhabitants. Its machinery, with a large and deep, gear not only moves the current city, but also builds its future, bringing revenue to hotels, restaurants, bars and stores. It creates countless temporary jobs.
And the numbers speak for themselves.
Last season, the Big House’s attendance reached more than 763,000 people.
DREW BRODIE THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Human-powered taxis, reminiscent of rickshaws, transport fans on game day.
According to a study done by Michigan State University, each home football game brings an estimated $10 million into the local economy, said Marianne Gosz Klinker, communications director at the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The games also bring revenue to the clothing industry that sells jerseys, T-shirts, souvenirs and memorabilia at the stadium store and other stores that belong to the university.
Workers like Rod Powers, 55, of Chelsea, get opportunities to make overtime pay. A 30-year employee at UM, Powers is one of four truck drivers who collect the garbage after the games on Sunday mornings, starting at 6 a.m.
Powers said that volunteers from Father Gabriel Richards High School collect and sort recyclable waste from the stands. The UM athletic department intern pays for their sports programs like cheerleading and volleyball.
In 2009, for games against Western Michigan University, Notre-Dame and Eastern Michigan University, there was a total of 66.12 tons of garbage; 14.36 tons were recycled.
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Partying fans enjoy some pregame revelry on Saturday, Sept. 18.
This season, from games against Connecticut, Massachusetts and Bowling Green, there was 57.67 tons, including 14.28 tons of recycled waste, according to Ablauf.
Since he was 7 years old, Melvin Henry, 51, of Ann Arbor, has parked cars on his Sheehan Avenue house on game days. His family used to charge $2; he now charges $20. Last season, he made between $1,500 and $1,800, averaging $250–$350 per game.
And for Henry, when it rains, it pours. Michigan won’t allow parking on its golf course when it rains, to protect the turf. That means Henry has more business.
In 2009, the golf course sold spaces for 9,326 cars; 1,165 per game. It brought $279,780 for the season, an average of $34,972 per game, said Ablauf.
Chris Veta Varlamos, 46, an engineer from Novi and a UM alumnus, has been renting car spaces on his State Street home for the past three years.
“We are saving for our kids’ college funds. They come to help,” he said. He makes about $350 per game.
Fans know it is better to pay for parking instead of being towed and paying at least $230.
In 2009, 249 vehicles were towed during the eight home games of the football season — an average of 31 per game.
After only five home games this year, 172 cars have been towed, said Renee Bush, spokeswoman from the Ann Arbor Police Department.
Although game tickets are not cheap, the spirit of some people moves those who cannot afford to get into the games.
Clayton Willis, 51, of Detroit, has no legs but he hasn’t missed a UM game since 2007. Seated on his wheelchair, he holds a plastic cup, waiting for charity, and then goes to the game.
Some ask for free tickets and some get them. Others scalp tickets near the entrances. Even the hustlers make good money.
On a good game day, they can start their buying and selling with two tickets and make $2,000 per month scalping, said Henry.
If you know the system, you can get around and scalp a ticket or get a free ticket, but a lot of people don’t know how to do it, and they have to buy a ticket for $60. They then have to pay for parking, drinks and food, explained Eric Birkle, 46, of Ann Arbor.
But the alumni don’t care about prices. They always come back to the games, bringing their families to continue the legacy.
Deb Nelson, 51, from Scottville, has been to every game since 1988 when her daughter was a freshman. They drive 3 1/2 hours. She and her family usually arrive on Friday night and stay at a hotel in Whitmore Lake, Jackson or Ann Arbor, arriving at the Yost Arena parking lot by 9:30 a.m.
They spend $200 on food, $100 on a hotel, $60 in gas and have four season tickets that cost $1,000 each season.
“I love Michigan football,” Nelson said. “All the tradition is exciting. I love all college football.”
Marilyn Lowery, 77, from Wayne, was 5 years old when her grandparents first brought her to a UM game. She now owns four season tickets. She has come to the home games since 1954.
“We love Michigan football. It’s exciting. Prices and teams are not as good as they used to be, but it is fun getting together with friends and family. Sometimes, we (have) 20 people, sometimes just six,” she said.
They spend about $500 on each game.
DREW BRODIE THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Ticket sellers may be found in abundance outside UM Stadium on game days.
Fans come from different states like Illinois, Ohio, Indiana. They endure the changing weather and the early start, just for the love of UM football.
A 70-year-old woman from Taylor gets in line at the golf course at 6:30 a.m. to be at her favorite spot. She brings together between 75 and 200 family and friends from Farmington and Novi. Her grandkids study at UM, and her group has come to every home game since 1979.
She started tailgating at the golf course with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now, she has an elegant space and tables filled with food like doughnuts, apple cider, hamburgers, hot dogs, different kinds of salads, meat and foods to grill after the game.
She also brings a satellite dish to watch the game on a flat screen TV, and another TV for her grandkids to watch DVDs.
“It’s great. It’s the spirit! They put blue blood in their veins,” she said. “Football means everything to Ann Arbor. Financially for college, for business they make good. But I don’t like the drinking… These girls so young with too much drinking.”
You don’t have to love football to enjoy the season, and even make some money.
“I don’t care about football, I care about the cans,” said a 35-year-old homeless man from Ann Arbor, who holds a plastic bag with more than 100 cans worth.
Another 49-year-old man from Ann Arbor enjoys every home game. He has picked bottles for the past five years.
“Football is great! Fantastic! We are having a good year. Denard Robinson is tearing them apart!” he said.
But the math these people do has nothing to do with win-loss records and national rankings.
“If everybody drinks one pop or one beer, the stadium holds almost 110,000 people, that mean $10,000 in cans,” said another Ann Arbor homeless man. He has been homeless for the last five years, depending on bottles and cans from home games. He doesn’t do it very often anymore, but he used to make $100 every game.
“I’m not greedy,” he said.
But not only the homeless pick cans and bottles.
Mike Varney, 24, Lody Bowman, 19, Cecily Cammarata, 20 and Josh Barabe, 18, started picking cans at 7:40 a.m. They are from the EMU Aviation Fraternity and were collecting cans to raise money to fly to Florida in January in hopes of obtaining enough hours to achieve their pilots’ licenses.
“Crimes happen during game days, but they don’t take over the community,” said Ann Arbor Chief of Police Barnett Jones, who added that most common crimes are larcenies from vehicles, stolen vehicles, fights and aggravated assaults due to intoxication.
During the last football season, 48 people were arrested; 34 of them were minors possessing alcohol. There were also 69 citations; 54 of those arrested had alcohol in the stadium. And 221 more individuals were ejected from games for different reasons. Of the 61 ejections, 51 were due to disorderly conduct.
This year, during the first three games, there were 15 arrests, 23 citations and 68 ejections, said Diane Brown, spokeswoman for UM.
Jones said they have to take care of the security of about 220,000–250,000 people every game — not all 115,000 attendants go to the game. Another 114,000 are in the stands, and another 30,000–50,000 who tailgate never even go into the stadium.
Jones’ department works together with Michigan State Police, University of Michigan Department of Public Safety, Pittsfield Township and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department.
Perhaps the only ugly thing that can be seen during UM football is the disparity between the rich and the poor.
“The average working person cannot afford to get into these games,” said Henry. “Or they come but because somebody gave them the ticket. It’s for upper-class people; lower-class doesn’t come to these games.”
Memorial for Dexter teen: A place to play
DEXTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS COURTESY PHOTO
By all accounts, Nicholas King was an incredibly bright, selfless and talented young man. He excelled in a wide variety of sports, was a natural leader in his classes and made his classmates feel welcome and included.
Over Labor Day weekend, King, 15, was badly injured in a boating accident on Lake Lancer, just north of Grass Lake. On Sept. 9, just a few days later, he passed away as a result of these injuries.
To commemorate his life, his family is planning to build a memorial in his honor.
His aunt, Tammie King describes Nick as a boy who loved to play sports, and whose greatest passion was soccer.
“One way to honor him and the sport he loved was to build something that could be used and enjoyed by his teammates as well as the many young aspiring soccer players yet to come to Dexter High School,” she said.
According to a letter sent out to prospective donors, it’s the family’s wish to raise money to pay for a small park and pavilion near the soccer fields in Dexter. The estimated cost of the project is $50,000, but according to Carla Pizzoli, Nick’s mother, what they build depends on how much they can raise.
“We’re currently talking about building a pavilion between the soccer fields and the bleachers, and a small memorial park behind the fields with benches and paver blocks,” she said.
Pizzoli describes her son as well-loved by his teachers and peers, with the testimonials to support her.
“Another kid told me that Nick was always the one who encouraged him to keep playing basketball, when he wasn’t as talented as the others,” she said.
Many local businesses are making their support known with large donations in support of the memorial. For example, the Dexter Pub is donating 10 percent of its sales for a day.
An auction also is taking place, with the proceeds from donated items going to the memorial fund. Donations and fundraisers like these are what have helped King’s family raise almost $15,000 so far.
To help, donations can be made by calling (734) 945-9667 or e-mailing Tammie King at firstname.lastname@example.org.