BY JAKE ROSENWASSER
Daily Sports Writer
Published January 31, 2005
And while Mullkoff managed to stay, engineering freshman Matthew Rodriguez was removed from Yost in the third period. Rodriguez said he was warned earlier in the game by the event staff for participating in the C-YA cheer but was removed for being vocal in other ways.
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“I was yelling at (Northern Michigan goalie Tuomas) Tarkki,” Rodriguez said. “The worst thing I think I said was, ‘Your mother doesn’t love you.’ I never used profanity because I was warned about profanity, and I understood the warning, and I understood the e-mail sent by the athletic department.”
Rodriguez said that he was initially warned for the C-YA cheer. He said that he recited the whole cheer, except for the “cocksucker” at the end.
“I acted responsibly,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to take this to the athletic department Monday morning.”
Rodriguez left Yost with the event staff, but others were escorted out by police officers. Stevenson said there were a few extra officers on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.
But fans’ disenchantment wasn’t limited to those stopped by the event staff and DPS.
“If you’re at a hockey arena and you pay for your seats, you should be able to express what you want to say,” said one non-student season-ticket holder, Jamie Binkley.
On Jan. 11, MSA facilitated a meeting between student season-ticket holders and members of the athletic department, led by Stevenson, to address the C-YA cheer issue. All 800 season-ticket holders were invited to the meeting, but only 20 showed up. Still, members from both sides left the meeting feeling positive about getting ideas out in the open about how to remedy the situation. The two sides discussed a student contest to create a new, more appropriate cheer with an accompanying T-shirt that would have the words on the back. They also discussed a student-run organization similar to Michigan basketball’s Maize Raze that could communicate more closely with the athletic department. After the meeting, the two sides agreed to continue their talks.
But after the ensuing weekend series against Alaska-Fairbanks at Yost, Stevenson changed Michigan’s policy.
“We had this positive meeting,” Stevenson said. “We left it feeling good. I didn’t think (the C-YA cheer) would go away overnight, but, over the Alaska-Fairbanks weekend, the volume and the annunciation of the words went up and the spirit of it went up. It’s unacceptable. It was clear to me that a great majority of the students didn’t comply with what we asked them to do. And so it was a total opposite of the good feelings we had when we left the meeting with the students.”
Business senior Josh Goldman was one of the season-ticket holders who attended the Jan. 11 meeting. He said he was not that upset about the change in policy but he would be hesitant to work the athletic department again.
“One of the things that we suggested was that they try to take a more subtle approach, as opposed to a more direct approach (like they tried on Friday with the ejections),” Goldman said before Saturday’s game. “But after seeing how they handled it during the game, I think that it went pretty well. They only really cracked down on people if they said ‘cocksucker.’ They didn’t kick anybody out for doing the beginning of the cheer. The students learned, and the students know.
“If you said ‘cocksucker,’ then they would point at you, and, if you did it again, they would throw you out. Nobody I was with wanted to be kicked out. One word isn’t worth it.
“I’m not upset about it, but I don’t think that there has been any goodwill fostered between the athletic department and the students who went to the meeting.”
Some students guessed that the athletic department put the emphasis on the word “cocksucker” because it was at the end of the cheer and was the most audible of the crass words. When said in such a fury, many of the words in the beginning and middle of the chant can blend together.
When asked, Stevenson insisted that he wanted the whole chant either erased or changed, not just the word, “cocksucker.”
“There are a number of words (that we want the students to stop saying),” Stevenson said. “But that’s certainly one (of them). When I get 10 to 20 letters and phone calls after every single home weekend that parents can’t bring their children here, then we need to get the chant changed.