EAST LANSING, Mich. — Thousands of Michigan State students and fans celebrated the football team’s Big Ten title win Saturday night with large, rowdy bonfires.
East Lansing police arrested “multiple people” Saturday night near River and Cedar streets, Capt. Jeff Murphy said in a statement. No injuries were reported in what he called “a large civil disturbance.”
The No. 10 Spartans defeated No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.
Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon issued a statement Sunday expressing pride at the victory and anger at the disorder, vowing punishment for any students involved.
“It’s more tradition than anything,” Joe Sheena, an MSU senior, told the Lansing State Journal. “We’re not a school of pyromaniacs.”
Murphy declined to release arrest figures Sunday, saying his department would have more details Monday morning. East Lansing police got help from Michigan State University police, state police and the Ingham County sheriff’s department, Murphy said.
River and Cedar streets are the traditional spot for Spartans’ sports celebrations.
Celebrants threw landscaping trees, a bicycle and fire extinguishers into a bonfire near the Cedar Village apartments and overturned a car outside other apartment, The Detroit News reported.
Erika Gonzalez, 26, of Lansing, said eight people approached a red car near Milford Arms apartments and quickly flipped it on its top.
Officers surrounded another large fire about 2:30 a.m. Sunday and marched slowly down River Street to disperse the crowd.
“The behavior last night on campus and in East Lansing by both students and non-students was disappointing,” said Simon. “Unfortunately, the behavior of a small number casts doubt on many.
Simon said investigators would review the incidents “and individuals will be held accountable. I ask that you join me in reinforcing that Spartans honor the success of our teams by celebrating with class.”
Athletic director Mark Hollis said he was proud of his team’s performance but upset by the way some fans acted.
“People need to celebrate in a responsible way,” he told the Lansing State Journal. “There is no place for destructive celebrations.”