"IU student told to wear Michigan shirt or leave"

Submitted by matty blue on March 11th, 2013 at 9:03 AM

from an indiana blog (yes, apparently they exist):


to which i would say "don't be a puss."

also:  go ahead.  say "first amendment" one more time.  i dare you.



March 11th, 2013 at 10:20 AM ^

UM is a public university.  Crisler Arena is probably what would be considered a "limited public forum" for purposes of expression--meaning as long as it's open, speech restrictions imposed there would be subject to "strict scrutiny."  Strict scrutiny requires the M's rule be "narrowly-tailored" to achieve a "compelling state interest."   

Speech restrictions almost never survive strict scrutiny, but I think there would be a reasonable chance of that here.  Is creating a uniformly pro-Michigan "Maize Rage" area a compelling interest?  In the college hoops context, maybe it is.  Is requiring the IU fan to wear a M shirt or move to a different part of the arena "narrowly-tailored?"  I think so, but maybe someone could come up with something even more narrowly-tailored.


March 11th, 2013 at 10:31 AM ^

A few things:

First of all, it might come down to a safety issue. If the adminiistrators are genuinely concerned about opposing fan safety, then its pretty valid.

Secondly, the student section is intended only for Michigan students. You can't go to some black tie state dinner in a tuxeedo shirt and expect to be let in because it's held on public state property. I don't think requiring appropriate dress in any way violates freedom of speech.


March 11th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

I don't think the safety issue is legit.  You can do plenty of other things to assure safety that don't involve restricting speech.  For instance, you can post security guards and have rules against assault.  I think there would need to be a pretty convincing record of M students beating up opposing fans before you could justify a rule like this on safety grounds, and I don't think you could establish that record.

Presumably, the state dinner example you gave would occur in a "non-public forum," where speech restrictions can be imposed so long as they are "content-neutral and reasonable in light of the forum."  Requiring formal dress at a fancy dinner meets this requirement.

I don't think the policy is unconstitutional either, but someone who feels strongly that it is could probably make a reasonably convincing argument. 


March 11th, 2013 at 11:20 AM ^

"For instance, you can post security guards and have rules against assault."

Because as this thread shows, people always follow the rules and don't complain about them. It is already against the rules to assault anyone (not to mention the law), and security guards are only helpful once they arrive. That 45 seconds it takes them to knife through the crowd to get to the altercation could be very dangerous.

"Presumably, the state dinner example you gave would occur in a "non-public forum," where speech restrictions can be imposed so long as they are "content-neutral and reasonable in light of the forum."  Requiring formal dress at a fancy dinner meets this requirement."

I'm not so confident that the STUDENT SECTION at a university basketball game is really a public venue. It was intended for a specific audience, and tickets were only sold by the university TO that audience. Nobody else. If those are then transferred third party, I don't think it is the university's fault if that third party is unhappy with some of the restrictions placed on them at said ticketed event.


March 11th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

The fact is, M students don't knife opposing fans just for wearing their gear.  So if M's justification for the rule is safety, it fails because it's unnecessary.  

Regarding who is in the audience, keep in mind that a M student could, theoretically anyway, buy a student section ticket and show up wearing an IU shirt.  Now, I am pretty sure the IU fan in this example was not a M student.  But you need to have the same rule for everybody.


March 11th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

They do! Where does it say that opposing fans must wear Michigan gear? It says anyone seated in the lower student section. So it doesn't matter if it's an IU or M student not in Maize gear. They will have to change.

As far as M students not knifing people: Try to go to court with the argument that, "Well, It just doesn't happen!"


March 11th, 2013 at 1:24 PM ^

Okay, but a rule like "everybody must wear yellow" is not content-neutral.  Imagine, in a different context, a rule that "everybody must pray to Jehova" or "everybody must hate the Russians." 

"It just doesn't happen" is a very persuasive argument in a constitutional free speech context if the record shows that, indeed, the problem that the government is suppressing speech in order to prevent is not, in fact, a realistic concern. 

I actually litigated a case like this once.  i was representing an organization of public housing tenants who had been told by the housing authority that they would no longer be permitted to post anything whatsoever on the exterior surfaces of their doors.  The main reason the housing authority gave was a concern that tenants would post inflammatory material that would lead to arguments and disputes--and potentially violence--between neighbors.  But, tenants had been posting things on their doors in this particular housing authority for decades, and there was no record of there ever being a violent incident prompted by a door posting.  That was a very helpful fact in winning the case.  FYI, the case went to our state supreme court and was decided 5-4, so you can see how close of a question this is.



March 11th, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

As someone who was part of the the Maize Rage Core for several years I can provide some insight to the rule:

  1. You will not be kicked out of the arena for not wearing maize. You will be relocated to the upper deck. In the context of the ITH article, "leave" means leave the blechers or Sec. 130.
  2. Michigan is not the only program with this policy. The Paint Crew (Purdue) also has a similar policy.
  3. The policy was put into place a few years ago when your M-Card was required with your ticket voucher to sit in the student section. Thus, with the exception of graduate students, it would not be possible for students from other schools to sit in the bleachers without using a fraudulent M-Card (a big university violation).
  4. The ticket is for the student section, not the lower of the student section. Thus, it is a reasonable requirement for students who wish to sit in the lower bowl of the student section to wear maize. Just as it is a requirement to sit in the lower bowl to be one of first ~550 students to line up for the game.
  5. There is no rule preventing oposing fans from rooting for their own team.



March 11th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

No. I am saying that this was the rationale behind the policy being put in place. You can form your own opinion on whether or not it is a good policy. I don't think there is anything wrong with the rule but maybe the maize rage needs to re-evaluate their policy.


March 11th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

I admit up front I attended and still financially support both univesities. That said, it's a stupid rule. If you're traveling to a road game, you have a ticket, and you're a respectful fan you can expect to put up with some good natured harrassment for supporting the opposition from the home fans. But to be forced to wear the other team's gear or be shipped out is a dumb policy that a university the caliber of Michigan's should be above. For that matter all respected public institutions should be above it. Sports are fun. They're not supposed to be draconian in nature.

Jack Daniels

March 11th, 2013 at 10:35 AM ^

Also, I wonder if they have any football writers or if it's just a basketball blog. Wouldn't blame them. They probably all fucking cheer for Notre Dame, anyway.


March 11th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

can't we just say, "if true, f'd up." What looks like it was missing--given the written Maize Rage section policy--was that people should have been told they would be moved to another section. If the threat was that they would have to leave, the ushers had it wrong, plain and simple. 

Bando Calrissian

March 11th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

This is dumb.  It reeks of marketing guru pretension masked as good intentions.  It's more "The Brand, The Brand, The Brand."   A kid in an IU shirt is going to get razzed.  He knows that.  But if he did what he needed to do to get into the bleachers, be an adult and let him get what's coming to him.   Don't hand him a shirt and an ultimatum.  It makes Michigan look petty and small.  If there's a real problem, just move him over to the parents' section in the bleachers right behind the IU bench and he can blend in.  Problem solved, no confrontation, kid probably even has a better time.  Everyone goes home happy, and there's no blog post making this a story.

Crisler doesn't need to be one of those venues where the staff gets smug and legalistic when it comes to opposing fans.  We get enough of that everywhere else.  That's not the way things have been here.  Ever.  There is no expectation that an arena should be open only to home fans, nor should Michigan go out of its way to tell them to can it.  Everyone has a right to cheer for their team, and if Athletics is going to allow student tickets to be validated, they have no reason to clamp down on things like this.

And really, if you're going to let people into the Maize Rage with bright red lobster costumes, green army fatigues, and all sorts of other stupid costumes that aren't maize, which have always been a part of the Maize Rage schtick in one form or another going back to the beginning, then you have to be that inconsistent with everyone.  


March 11th, 2013 at 3:50 PM ^

I like this policy.  I really don't care if this is "rude" to opposing fans or whatever.  It's our student section.  Visiting fans shouldn't think of sitting in it.



March 11th, 2013 at 5:41 PM ^

What if one school exploits something like this and "takes over" some of another school's student section? Like, what if 50 Michigan students went and camped out and took over a little section in the Izzone, or vice versa? If one student could do it, why can't 100?

Bando Calrissian

March 11th, 2013 at 8:30 PM ^

Again, if they "shouldn't think about sitting in it," why does Michigan allow student tickets to be validated?  

You can't have it both ways.  Either make it ONLY students with MCards in Michigan gear (opposing team color "costumes" apparently excluded), or keep the policy as-is where anybody can pay $40 or whatever the current rate is to make a student ticket into a regular ticket.  

A valid ticket is a valid ticket.  Under the current rules, a student ticket isn't exclusively a student ticket if it has a validation sticker on it.  Putting clothing color requirements along with that ticket, IMO, is a stretch that makes our athletic department look insecure and petty.