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Posted on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

The Blue Rage: You can join Michigan basketball's alternative cheering section

By Nick Baumgardner


When the student-run Maize Rage cheering section, above, is on break from school, the Blue Rage steps in.

Melanie Maxwell |

Five years ago, Michigan basketball fan Rob Thomas had seen -- and heard -- enough.

Michigan's student section, the Maize Rage, had come a long way since former coach Tommy Amaker helped create it in 2001.

But when students left for holiday breaks, the noise and energy level in Crisler Arena seemed to go with them.

"It was kind of annoying during those break games," said Thomas, who has held Michigan basketball season tickets for more than 10 years. "It always got pretty quiet. And we thought maybe we should do something about it."

And thus, the Blue Rage was born.

For the past five seasons of Michigan basketball, Thomas' Blue Rage group has served as student section stand-ins during Christmas and spring breaks.

The group consists of Michigan alums as well as casual fans -- adults and children -- who enjoy Wolverine basketball and don't mind yelling about it.

"We meet before the games, the athletic department serves pizza and soda and we teach them all the cheers," Thomas said. "Then, we go out and do what the students normally do."

Last season, more than 200 fans signed up to be a part of the group. Thomas said he's already received commitments from more than 100 fans for this season, and is hoping to reach at least 225.

The Blue Rage games for this season will be Jan. 1 against Minnesota and the game against Purdue on either Feb. 25 or Feb. 26.

Ticket packages cost $45 and include one ticket to each game, pizza prior to tip-off and a Blue Rage T-shirt. The deadline for applications is Friday.

To apply, or for more information, visit

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Seasoned Cit

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 4:15 a.m.

Hey Tesla, check out the photo... I believe there are at least 2 women (girls) in the photo of the Maize gang... Do we need to to wet T-shirt contests for you to find the "girls" in the group... Hard to believe but there are also dumb females who like to stand up during the games and jump up and down together... Must be something in the pregame pizza.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

I can't stand to watch a U of M basketball game on tv because of all that jumping in unison and screaming that those boys (and they are all guys no girls) do. Its bizarre and totally annoying and I am sure it has no affect on the players. Go State!


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 8:08 p.m.

Right, because the State students are quiet and don't yell. Uh huh. Ask Duke about the effectiveness of said jumping and noise...or better, ask a nervous ball player on the free throw line...

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

If a stater hates it, I'm glad we do it. The sad part is that staters don't have enough enthusiasm and energy to do the same. Lighten up. They're college kids, and it's a game. Sheesh!

Usual Suspect

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

I think this is a good idea, but being part of a crowd yelling "You suck!" isn't quite my idea of a fun evening. I'd bring my son, the big-time M fan with me as well, but it's a bit fowl for our parenting style. Clean it up and we're in.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

Years ago, when the Big Ten refs were showing their favorite recipe for fan dissatisfaction, the students started up a chant that grew and grew and grew. I told my neighbors in the stands that it was the name of a city in Eastern Europe. It was Refusuk. After that, they just explained to others that it was the name of a (probably Hungarian) city that had special connections to the Big Ten. lol

Usual Suspect

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Aye, but Blue Rage is trying to attract adults and kids.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

Loosen up it is a college basketball game.