The clocks hits zero. MSU has won. Students stream out of their apartments, eager to celebrate. Crowds gather chanting as police look on warily. But as soon as a fire is set in the middle of the crowd, officers move in wearing riot gear, chasing the celebrators away and making arrests.
By the numbers, the civil disturbance in Cedar Village following the Big Ten championship game in December 2013 dwarfed the one following MSU’s wins on early Saturday morning and Sunday. But one thing remains in common: individuals arrested for unlawfully remaining within 300 feet of an open fire.
Bagels and cereal thrown in the air, crowd surfing, a naked man and an inflatable Sparty on the first floor outside his window — that was the atmosphere at Cedar Village after the MSU basketball victory over University of Louisville on Sunday afternoon. Police estimated nearly 750 people gathered on Waters Edge Drive to celebrate MSU's Elite Eight victory.
Seconds after the Spartan win, students gathered on the streets to celebrate the victory in what has become a controversial tradition earning East Lansing national attention.
“One second after this win we were outside,” Cedar Village resident Andrew J. said. “Everyone knows something is going to happen.”
Several people were arrested and taken by riot gear–clad police officers for presumably throwing trash and food up into the air. Officers from MSU police, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and East Lansing police were on the scene well before the Spartans’ last possession. A number of police vans were on scene, as one officer described, in case they were “needed for transport” of arrested revelers.
“I would say MSU is pretty notorious for going a little crazy after a big win like this,” Cedar Village resident Darian M. said.
Police initially watched closely for about 30 minutes as students energy steadily increased.
As soon as one flaming shirt was seen, officials move forward to break up the crowds.
ASMSU President James Conwell said the rioters are a small minority of the Spartan community that engage in the destructive behavior. Conwell, along with ASMSU Chief of Staff Kiran Samra, were present at Cedar Village watching from a distance.
“I don’t think that it’s a Spartan tradition,” Conwell said. “If you look around, this is a very relatively peaceful crowd ... students are celebrating a Spartan victory in a positive way.”
MSU football quarterback Connor Cook was also seen celebrating with fellow Spartans.
On Friday night police estimated 500 people gathered on the 1000 block of Waters Edge Drive in Cedar Village, and three were arrested for the disorderly conduct violation, according to a statement from East Lansing police.
That crowd was nearly four to six times smaller than the 2,000 to 3,000 people who came out to the area after the Big Ten championship win, according to police estimates from previous State News reports.
Although nearly 30 people were arrested that night in December 2013, the arrests didn’t end once the disturbance was over and all had dispersed.
MSU police and East Lansing police offered up to $20,000 in reward money for tips that could lead to the conviction of anyone involved, and their investigations yielded at least nine arrests last year.
At this time it remains unknown if East Lansing police intend to pursue charges against those who had been nearby or participated in the weekend’s celebrations, which included breaking bottles during early Saturday’s post-game revelry.
Some MSU students were allegedly arrested for throwing bagels in Sunday’s celebration. Videos of the bagels flying through the air lit up social media, prompting bemused reactions online from figures, such as Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who tweeted “What did the bagels ever do to you?” and MSU police, who tweeted “Guys, what’s with the bagels?”
Given the short time that has passed since early Saturday and Sunday, East Lansing police Lt. Steve Gonzalez said Sunday he was unable to comment on the matter.
The student status of those arrested, and whether they have been charged with the disorderly conduct violation, also remains unknown at this time.
Students were able to gather in Breslin Center this afternoon to watch MSU emerge victorious over the Louisville Cardinals in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Tonight Breslin Center's doors will open for students again to welcome the team back to East Lansing.
According to MSU Athletics, Gate B will open at 8:30 p.m. and the team is expected to make an appearance at 9:15 p.m.