Tensions are running high this week as students take to the Pine Grove in protest of the annual March Madness basketball tournament. Over the past few weeks, students have held viewing parties on the weekends in the Bultman Student Center, but some think they have taken it too far. “It’s not fun anymore; it’s just a competition! I’m ashamed to tell people I picked the University of North Carolina to go all the way. They laugh in my face and won’t even let me watch the rest of the games,” a student commented. North Carolina was defeated by Auburn University in the elite eight game last Friday. With the final four locked in, an elitist mentality is spreading through campus. Any student who picked Auburn to make it to the final four has become immensely popular on campus. But the popularity comes with some risks.
“It was horrifying,” one Van Vleck resident said. “I could see it all from my window. The Pine Grove was overtaken by basketball fans. The Michigan fans tried to take the grove by force, going at the State fans by throwing raw eggs and water balloons! The school may consider shutting down for the final four and championship games if the behavior continues. “I don’t know what has gotten into their heads, but this is unacceptable. Hope is an academic institution, not a place to riot or get into fights over basketball games,” a Campus Safety officer commented. The president refrained from commenting on the issue.
“Everyone seems to think that because I got this one upset right, my bracket is gold! What if by next weekend it’s wrong? What will they think of me then?” one student, who wishes to remain unnamed, commented. With the University of Virginia, Texas Tech University, and Michigan State University left to battle it out for the championship, students also fight one another over the close games. Instead of bonding over watching the games, friendships are breaking over the predictions. “My roommate decided to move rooms overnight because I told her Michigan State couldn’t make it to the final game!” a student commented as we watched the Michigan State versus Duke University game. He was quickly interrupted by another student who overheard our conversation. “Tom Izzo is a legend. How dare you disrespect his name!” Others had to call Campus Safety to contain the riot that happened afterwards as students fought over Michigan State’s ability to play basketball.
At the nail-biting finish to the Michigan State game, where they reigned victorious over number one seed Duke, the police arrived to contain the State fans as they ran through the Pine Grove, screaming the Michigan State fight song. The University of Michigan fans, who had a big let down with the loss to Texas Tech got involved, hurling insults at the Michigan State fans. Two students were arrested due to their conduct. As many students stream the game using the Hope internet, it was suggested to Computing and Information Technology that, for the final weekend of March Madness, they shut down the internet or change the password to a longer sequence of letters and numbers. That way students wouldn’t be able to stream the game, or would need to leave campus to do so in a less volatile place. As the weekend approaches, Campus Ministries has asked for all students to take prayerful consideration of their conduct during the March Madness season of life. Watch Saturday at 6:09 p.m. for Auburn versus Virginia and at 8:49 p.m. for Michigan State versus Texas Tech. Stay safe!