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Posted on Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 10:14 a.m.

University of Michigan block 'M' legend featured on 'Jeopardy!'

By Kellie Woodhouse


Don't step on the brass 'M' at the University of Michigan. photo | Joseph Tobianski

The block M made an appearance on "Jeopardy!" Monday night.

The clue? "Don't walk on the brass 'M' on the Diag before your first test at this Ann Arbor school; legend says you'll flunk if you do."

The answer, of course, is the University of Michigan, where most students do go out of their way to avoid walking on the brass 'M.'

Afterward, the twittersphere was abuzz about the reference. "What is... M Go the Best University in the World @umich #Hail #GoBlue," tweeted one user. "@umich takes jeopardy. #goblue," tweeted another.


U-M was featured on Jeopardy!

Kyle Swanson

The question was a part of Jeopardy's teen tournament, which airs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 12. The three contestants were teenagers from Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia.

One user on the online communication forum said the question was worth $400 in the colleges category.

Although the teen tournament ends today, Wednesday sees the opening of the show's Tournament of Champions, with Stephanie Jass of Milan expected to appear on the first night. Last year, Jass became the winningest female contestant ever to appear on the show.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Woo hoo Leonard won last night and kicked butt. Nice show, Dr. Jass' episode should be wrapping up right now as well so I'll have to check it out later on on my DVR.

Dr. J

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

Hi, all - Stephanie Jass here :) I've been told by WDIV that they'll be airing my show EARLIER on Wednesday -- 12:30 pm. So set your DVRs for the afternoon! If you miss it, there's usually a video up on a day or two after the episode airs.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

Thanks for the info. Great run, by the way. I hope you did as well in the tournament. Hmm... I think you need a 35 or better on the online test to qualify. Based on the tryout city you selected, if you qualify you may be called to try out in person (the odds are based on the number who qualified for your tryout city). There, you will take the test in person and be filmed playing the game. If you pass that test (again, probably 35 right answers out of 50) and they like your presence on film, you could be called to Studio City to play at any time during a period of about 18 months after you originally took the test. I'd be interested to hear, too, if Stephanie had to qualify more than once. I'm sure, based on her performance, that she had no problem scoring 45-50 on the test.


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Stephanie, you're the best. Thanks for the info!


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Stephanie I have a question for you if you don't mind. How many times did you take the online test before you were picked? I have taken it three times so far and never heard anything back, so just want to know from someone who has made it all the way how long it can take. Thanks!

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

Thanks for letting us know Stephanie. I'd say good luck, but luck doesn't work retroactively, does it?


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

I was watching it. It was a good contest, although Leonard blew the final answer and has a huge gap now with the other contestants. Should be a good final tonight my money is on Nevi winning it all now


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Barret is a strong contender for sure. He started off slowly but by the second round was solidly in second place, and getting the final question right definitely helped him out. Tonight will be a good finale and I think it's going to come down to the final question again

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

It's been a funny tournament, with the horrible FJ betting errors in the semifinals allowing Nevi and Leonard through to the finals. Barret has put together some great runs, and he's been largely quiet in the final. If the categories are balanced across the two nights, I'd bet on him.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

When I was at U-M, the rule was you can't walk on the M before your first *blue book* test, which usually meant some sort of essay. I had friends who never took a blue book, so they never stepped on the M. I remembering stepping on it my sophomore year. It's kind of funny, too, because during the winter it can get covered in snow and people will avoid the whole general area so they don't step on it on accident.


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

Ms. Alfs- that is what I was told, as well. I don't think I had a blue book until junior or senior year, but I probably stepped on the block M intentionally to reject the superstition (sometimes young people take things too seriously).


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

Okay, so my arithmetic is a little off. It's only 60 years old! No wonder I don't feel that old.


Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

It was my class -- 1953 -- that provided the brass M as our gift to the U. So it's approaching 70 years of age! Funny, I don't feel that old....

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

Back in the old days, you simply couldn't walk on the M before graduation. Sounds like the modification is an improvement. You were also supposed to, before graduation, do something I can't write about here in the grad library.

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4 p.m.

I love college legends like that. When I was an undergrad at the University of Maryland the legend was that if you rub the turtle in front of the main library you would have good luck. So, funny enough, I would make a point to rub the turtle before my exams.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

It's too bad WDIV has apparently decided not to show Wednesday's edition of Jeopardy. Right now, their program guide indicates some "State of the City" repeat from 1995, of all things.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

@poohbah It was provided as a gift? Who paid for it?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Not sure I understand. I'm stuck in the days of broadcast television, when something had to be aired by a station before it could be found on the internet. I don't think Sony would release a video before the show is supposed to air on affiliate stations. I think WDIV has simply decided not to show the Tournament of Champions opener. Which means no Stephanie (unless she reached the semis).

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Yeah. I scoured the internet for a video but couldn't find one. If anyone can find a video, please include the link in the comments section.