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Posted on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Thousands of Michigan fans heading to Atlanta for Final Four

By Pete Cunningham


Michigan basketball fans cheer on the team during its 79-59 won over Florida in Arlington, Texas on March 31.

Melanie Maxwell |

Chaim Frenkel graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 and shortly after moved to Atlanta to work for a startup company. Because of his religious beliefs, Frenkel doesn’t use a car or public transportation from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday in observation of the Sabbath.

So when he straps on his walking shoes and throws on his Michigan gear to make the 7-mile trek from his apartment to the Final Four festivities in downtown Atlanta on Saturday, he’ll be keeping the faith in more ways than one.

To his team, and his religion.

“I’ll be walking the seven miles with my Wolverine flag tied around my neck,” said Frenkel, who won’t be alone. He said most of the eight to 12 people he’ll be hosting at his apartment for the weekend will join him.


Recent Michigan graduate and Atlanta resident Chaim Frenkel, right, will carry the same Michigan flag to the Final Four festivities as he did on his trip to Cambodia.

Photo courtesy of Chaim Frenkel

“Most do not have the same (religious) commitments, so I’m not sure if they’re doing it out of dedication to friendship or for the exercise,” he said with a laugh. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Not long after Michigan’s win over Florida last Sunday, Frenkel began receiving requests for couch space. He said his open door policy for the weekend likely will lead to very little couch space for a lot of people.

“I’m predicting my apartment will be swamped by Wolverines,” Frenkel said. “I’m getting all my Michigan gear ready.”

Frenkel and his friends likely will see plenty of maize and blue on their journey downtown. The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan quickly sold out of its 300 allotted tickets and sold close to 300 separate travel packages -- which include airfare, hotel, shuttles and events but not game tickets -- according to Tonja Deegan, digital marketing manager for AAUM.

This is in addition to the 3,950 tickets allotted by the NCAA to Michigan for fans and season ticket holders.

“We have a lot of (Michigan) locals looking for tickets, but we had people nationwide calling about tickets,” Deegan said. “We sold out fairly quickly.”

There also will be plenty of resident Wolverines fans already in Atlanta. The AAUM’s U of M Club of Atlanta - made up of alumni in Atlanta and the surrounding areas - is more than 5,000 members strong according to treasurer and communications manager Cheryl Summers. The club will be hosting the “unofficial” Michigan fan parties at the Whitehall Tavern in downtown Atlanta and Pepperonni’s Tavern in nearby Alpharetta.


Former Michigan football players Chris Howard, far left, and Juaguin Feazell, far right, and a Michigan alumnus at a U of Club of Atlanta event.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Summers

Summers, a 1976 Michigan graduate, said the club has been going to the two locations for years for football and basketball games. The NCAA designates certain bars and restaurants the “official” hangouts for the different fan bases for the Final Four, but Summers said the club is sticking with its regular hangouts — and inviting visitors to join them — now that the times are good.

“We’re very protective of Whitehall and Pepperoni’s. They stuck with us through the lean Rodriguez years so they deserve to cash in,” Summers said. “What were we that year, 3-9? Oh god, that was pathetic.”

Brad Bauer, managing partner at Whitehall looks forward to the influx of Michigan fans in addition to the regulars. He’s expecting a standing room only crowd by game time in the 300 person venue.

Bauer is a University of Georgia fan, but said he’s become a Michigan fan by osmosis.

“It’s hard not to pull hard not to pull for ‘em when there are 200 screaming for them every game,” Bauer said.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


Jello Biafra

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

wow, Chris Howard got LARRRRRRGE. Go Blue!


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:41 a.m.

Pretty sure his name is FRENKEL. not Frankel (I know Chaim.) However, it is practically impossible now that it is sundown on Friday to confirm with him. You'll have to wait until after the game.

Pete Cunningham

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

The correction has been made. Thank you.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

Actually, $310 for all 3 games sound reasonable to me. It's the travel expense that's the killer


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Meechigan does indeed travel well. Rest of the Big 10; Take note. GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Wolverine Nation represent in Atlanta, let's drown that place in Maize!! Go Blue! (final four UM hype video)

Robert J

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

I wish the tickets were priced reasonably so we all could go, but I understand its a business and everyone has to get paid. Go Blue! Can't wait till Saturday.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Wow, that's amazing. Times they be-a-changin', eh?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

Pete, I can't remember what I did last week let alone 20 years ago. I believe it was around $25.00, but it was face.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

What was face value in 1993?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

I paid face value for a scalped ticket in front of the Superdome before the 1993 championship game. There will be bargains in front of the stadium in Atlanta.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Go Blue!!!! Drive safely ....