Joyous, And Mostly Peaceful, Fans Celebrate Title
April 4, 2000
By DEE-ANN DURBIN
EAST LANSING, Mich. - In the hour after Michigan State beat Florida for the national championship, about 15,000 people celebrated outside the Cedar Village apartment complex.
Bud Yemc, a district supervisor for Quality Dairy, was hoping history would not repeat itself.
And it didn't.
"We're very, very pleased, other than normal messes after any big event, there weren't any serious problems at all," he said.
After Michigan State's loss to Duke in last year's semifinals, more than 10,000 people ran through East Lansing. Some fans overturned cars, set bonfires, broke windows and smashed parking meters, with much of the violence occurring in Cedar Village.
Police arrested 132 people. Of the 113 people later convicted, 94 went to jail.
This year, those celebrating the school's first national championship in 21 years were more peaceful.
People high-fived, chanted the school fight song and waved flags. Fireworks went off, drivers honked horns and students waved from balconies.
"This moment right now, this place right here, is the best place and the best time to be," said Mike Ansted, a financial consultant from Toledo, Ohio, and a '96 grad.
Students body surfed through the dense crowd. One student climbed a light and threw his shirt into the crowd. Another student had a Florida Gator hanging by the neck from a pole. Three men had the letters M-S-U painted on their bodies. Students held up newspapers with banner headlines proclaiming the Spartans as national champions.
"We just wanted to go out in style," said Aaron Cloyd, 20, and one of the body-painters.
Sounds of glass breaking interrupted the music and cheering. There were reports of some injuries from thrown bottles and cans, but no serious injuries. Streets were strewn with glass and garbage.
In the final arrest tally today, police Capt. Tom Wibert said 26 people - including 13 Michigan State students - were arrested on indecent exposure, disorderly conduct or alcohol-related charges. All crowds dispersed by 4 a.m.
"It appears to be a joyous celebration. One of our people there said it was the largest crowd he had ever seen in the village," Lt. Kevin Daley said.
At Breslin Center, where thousands watched on four big screens, some who ran onto the Michigan State home floor tried to pull down the nets.
The celebration Monday night began even before the Spartans scored their last basket in the 89-76 victory over Florida.
The fans had been preparing for the celebration all day. Thousands waited in line to get into Breslin Center, with some tailgating in the parking lot.
"This feels good," freshman Brandon Rohrbaugh said. "I had my moments
when I thought they might lose. But when (A.J.) Granger kept hitting those 3s,
I knew we were going to win in it."
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