Defending the Diag: Wolverines stand guard

- Republicans and Democrats have nothing on the state of Michigan this week - this weekend, it's Michigan and Michigan State for all of the bragging rights.

This year, the game is in Ann Arbor and some dedicated Michigan Wolverines are guarding the Big M in the Diag. Dedicated people like Clifford Clark, who talked to our Spartan, Dave Spencer.

"Protecting The block M it's what this is about. It's a great rivalry, it's a great competition," Clark said.

The iconic block M sits in the middle of the center of campus. 51 weeks out of the year, it's exposed to the elements and students who want to tempt fate.

"The tale is if you step on the M, you will fail your first blue book. Which is basically the final exam here at Michigan," junior Andre Celjan said.

But this is the one week where it's not exposed - it's surrounded by students like Celjan, a member of Theta Xi.

"We always have someone here. Usually two people no one wants to be here alone," Celjan said.

Like the statue of Sparty in East Lansing, it's protected from rivals who dare to do some redecorating.

"Two years ago it actually did get painted. We had a miscommunication with the school and it got painted during a vigil on a Monday night. Since then we've been very vigilant. We've had a couple people come - some sketchy characters that seemed to be wearing some Michigan state gear covered up by jackets - and were asking some questions about what was going on. We held steadfast and made sure they didn't get close to the M," Celjan said.

The best way to block the block M? Strength in numbers and making sure you have the energy and comfort level to keep it protected and get the job done.

"We learned to bring out furniture, lots of blankets and pillows. We actually brought out a basketball hoop last year," Celjan said.

But it's more than just protecting the M. Theta Xi turned it into a fundraising event for multiple sclerosis research.

Theta Xi has guarded the block M since 1999. They promise to stand guard until kickoff on Saturday.

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