BY JAKE ROSENWASSER
Daily Sports Writer
Published January 31, 2005
During the Michigan hockey team’s last two games this weekend, the University has started to enforce a ban on profanity at Yost Ice Arena. The athletic department recently changed its policy regarding profanity and, in particular, the profanity-laced C-YA cheer. Students who use profanity will now be ejected from Yost.
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Executive Associate Athletic Director Michael Stevenson sent an e-mail to student season-ticket holders on Wednesday explain the policy change. The change was made after a home weekend against Alaska-Fairbanks in which Stevenson said he saw no improvement in fans’ behavior since talking with student season-ticket holders on Jan. 11 during an MSA-run meeting.
The Department of Public Safety said it removed four students from Yost over the weekend for using vulgar language during Michigan’s two-game series against Northern Michigan. One student received a minor in possession of alcohol citation, DPS reported. Others were removed by the event staff without the aid of DPS.
Stevenson pledged to continue the crackdown throughout the rest of the season, including this Friday, when arch-rival Michigan State comes to Yost. He has scheduled another meeting with student ticket holders this Thursday to continue the dialogue.
In addition to the e-mail, the athletic department placed flyers on all the student seats for Friday’s game. The flyers stated the same policy change as the e-mail.
Stevenson said he was changing the policy because of continuous complaints from Michigan fans.
Over the last five years, the profanity at Yost has been discouraged by the athletic department, Michigan coach Red Berenson and Michigan captains. But offenders in the stands were rarely ejected, if at all.
It has become part of the student section tradition to add an expletive onto the cheer each year, and this year was no different. After a few home games, the word “cocksucker” was added.
Before Friday’s game, Stevenson and Yost management instructed the event staff on how to handle the new policy.
“We’re supposed to give them one warning for vulgarity,” event staff worker Gary Korpal said before Friday’s game. “The next time they do it, they’re going to be removed by security.”
But Korpal said that the event staff was instructed to look out for certain vulgar words.
“They’re more worried about c-sucker than anything else,” Korpal said. “They’re gung ho on that. They don’t want to hear that word at all. They said that’s what they want to focus on now.”
University sports management prof. David Shand said that the athletic department is well within its rights to kick spectators out for any behavior that it feels is inappropriate.
“Yost is owned and operated by the University, and they set the rules,” Shand said. “There are limitations on First Amendment rights. There are a number of behaviors that you cannot engage in at Yost. You cannot go to a game naked, and you cannot smoke pot there. This isn’t any different. They have the right to create any environment they want to create. They want to create the best environment that suits the most people.”
To add to the athletic department’s case even further, in the small type at the bottom of every student ticket, a message reads: “Management reserves the right to refuse admission or to eject any person whose conduct Management deems disorderly, obnoxious, or unbecoming.”
On Friday, the first Northern Michigan penalty came in the second period. Event staff worker Bill Hill, stationed amongst the students, watched as they engaged in the traditional cheer. After the cheer, Hill picked out R.C. senior Dan Mullkoff — one of the more animated and strident fans in the section — and told him, “You’ve been warned one time, the next time you will be escorted out by the cops.”
At the end of the second period, an official called Northern Michigan defenseman John Miller for hooking, and the cheer started up again. This time Mullkoff did the hand motions, but kept his mouth shut throughout.
“I felt like it wasn’t worth it,” Mullkoff said. “As cool as being a martyr would have been.”