EAST LANSING – Michigan State University and East Lansing police are urging students and other MSU fans to keep a lid on post-game celebrations during Final Four weekend.
Anyone who takes part in “destructive gatherings” could face criminal charges and university sanctions ranging up to expulsion, city and university officials noted in a joint press release.
“True Spartans celebrate with class,” Acting MSU President Satish Udpa said in the release. “Our mens basketball team has overcome many hurdles this year, and we as a community should celebrate them with honor and dignity.”
On Sunday, two men were arrested on disorderly conduct charges after MSU beat Duke to advance to the Final Four in Minneapolis this weekend. The arrests came during a large celebration on Cedar Street that included a furniture fire and glass bottles that were tossed.
In December 2013, 15 people were arrested after nearly 1,000 fans gathered around furniture-fueled bonfires following the MSU football teams victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
An East Lansing ordinance, originally passed after a large 1999 riot, made it illegal to loiter within 300 feet of an open fire without attempting to put it out or contact emergency services. Judge Andrea Larkin ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in 2016, saying it was too vague.
Police now have to tell anyone gathered around a fire they are violating a city ordinance and give them a chance to leave.
Anyone who doesnt comply could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $550 fine.
At the same time, students who take part in an unlawful assembly are subject to university sanctions that can include suspension or expulsion, MSU officials said.
“The message we want to convey is that people kind of get caught up in the moment, and they might not think about the consequences of their actions,” East Lansing Deputy Police Chief Steve Gonzalez said.
Officials said “a large police presence” will be on hand this weekend, both on and off campus. They also said police will monitor local news outlets and social media sites to identify people who take part in “destructive behavior.”
The university will host a watch party on Saturday at Munn Ice Arena. Doors open at 8 p.m. The event was originally scheduled for the MSU Union ballroom but was moved to Munn, which seats more than 6,000 people.
Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to Michigan State Spartans Newsletter Slot to Michigan State Links Former Michigan State basketball player Delvon Roe came oh so close in back-to-back years. In his first two college basketball seasons, he and the rest of the Spartans were playing for a national title.
As a freshman, in 2009, Roe was 40 minutes away from winning a championship in Detroit. A year later, a loss to Butler in the national semifinals ended his sophomore campaign.
With those experiences, Roe knows about the emotions, the pressure and the excitement going into this weekend for the MSU basketball team. After a year full of injuries and adversity, the Spartans are back in the Final Four for the eighth time under the tutelage of head coach Tom Izzo. Ahead of MSU’s game against Texas Tech this weekend in Minneapolis, Roe spoke with Spartan Tailgate about the experience of playing in a Final Four.
DR: “Absolutely, he was into me as well, got into my grill and let me know that I wasn’t doing the things he needed me to do for us to win the game. But as a player that’s where that want for constructive criticism comes in and I was all for it and I know that Aaron (Henry) was all for it also.”
“As a player in that room, you could hear a pin drop because guys are so locked in and focused on the moment. It probably has been like that all season but when it comes to this moment, the intensity and the focus is a lot stronger.”
“I believe when you get to the Final Four the focus goes up and you don’t realize that youre playing at a Final Four. You don’t realize how huge of a moment this is until you’re done playing basketball.”
DR: “Just from the moment you come back to the arena after you won your regional finals, to come back to The Breslin Center and see all the fans there waiting for you and then you get ready to go to the Final Four and everyone is in a line for you cheering pretty much from the stadium all the way to City Hall. It’s just a special feeling. Then you get to the Final Four and go through the walk-through and have all the fans there, its a good a feeling. But I think everyone knows that the job isnt done, you still want to win a championship. It’s nice and all to get to a Final Four but it’s a lot cooler to win it.”