Tuesday, January 31, 2006
News 3 'U' launches M-
CAGERS RANKED FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE i998 ... SPORTS, PAGE 10
From the Daily:
Arts 8 'Big Momma's House
2' garners low rating
One-hundredffteen years of editorialfreedom
www.mchikgandaziy.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVI, No. 65 62006 The Michigan Daily
Officials say city's
ready for big game
Kilpatrick and Granholm say
they're prepped to 'reintroduce
Detroit to the world'
By Ian Herbert
Daily Staff Reporter
DETROIT - The atmosphere was enthusias-
tion and a way we haven't moved in years."
He cited 70 businesses that are new to Detroit
since Super Bowl preparations began. Four years
ago, Kilpatrick said he wanted to create 50 new
businesses - in downtown Detroit, and he said
people thought he was crazy. The city has also
started more than 35 new restaurants, according
to Kilpatrick, who joked that he had obviously
tried them all.
tic. Maybe overly enthusiastic. Detroit is trying desperately to kick its bad-
It's been a little over four ye, and Kilpatrick and Granholm
was selected as the host city joked that Jimmy Kimmel is
of Super Bowl XL. Yesterday, qwelcome.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpat- "This is a 300-year-old city
rick and Gov. Jennifer Gran- with attitude and grit," Gran-
holm wanted to make it clear - holm said. "It's got music, it's
they were proud of what the got sports, and it's got cars.
city has accomplished. What more could you want?"
"We want to reintroduce It was clear from yesterday's
Detroit to the world," Kilpat- Super owl Wek events that Detroit no longer
rick said at the Super Bowl overage wants to be known as a city
welcoming ceremonies yes- of riots and brawls. But it also
terday afternoon at the Renaissance Center in has a separate image problem, especially among
downtown Detroit. football fans. The last time Detroit hosted the
He said the preparation for Sunday's game has Super Bowl, in 1982, the city was hit with a big
served "as a catalyst to move Detroit in a direc- See SUPER BOWL, page 7
Recent University alums Jason Coben (left) and Nick Velissaris (right) play beer pong at Touchdowns Cafe yesterday. Coben and Velissaris,
both former Michigan athletes, were recently crowned beer pong national champions at a tournament near Las Vegas.
For two alums, beer pong
not just an excuse to drink
Jits every beer-loving college
student's dream to get paid for
mastering a drinking game.
For years, you've learned the rules,
perfected your shot and tweaked
to enter two smaller tournaments.
After first- and second-place
finishes, they decided it would
be prudent to stick together for
the duration of their beer-pong
your offensive strate-
gies. Yet, night after
night, you trudge
home from your
Rick's or Scorekeep-
ers with nothing but
a little extra pride, a
lot less money and a
But two lucky - I
mean, highly skilled
- recent graduates
were able to live that
dream earlier this
month when they
came out on top of
Since that fateful
summer, they entered
one major contest a
year, which brought
them to cities such as
Atlanta, Los Angeles
As they racked up
wins, their confidence
grew. Soon, they were
dubbed "Team France"
by their competitors.
The moniker reflected
the team's Napoleon
national tournament entry fee, they
knew they had to keep the name
that had carried them through to
Upon arriving at the national
tournament, Velissaris found
that it was not quite what he had
Turns out most competitors there
were recent college graduates who
had had sufficient time to legally
participate in the sport, and there
was a high concentration of frater-
nity bothers with a spattering of
athletes, along with several teams
from the state of New York.
The rules of the tournament
dictated that participants consume
just one drink per hour, so Team
France - who know they play
best with about four beers in their
systems - made an early trip to a
nearby casino for a bit of pre-tour-
nament gambling and alcoholic
They quickly learned, however,
that this was not the only way to
play. There were teams that showed
up each day already completely
wasted, while others remained sober
for the duration, opting for water or
milk instead of beer.
Other slightly more intense
teams utilized rather unorthodox
measures to ensure success. One
duo brought a breathalyzer along
to make sure it maintained a
alcohol level, while a team of two
paramedics rehydrated for the next
day's matches by running IVs.
But it was Team France's com-
bination of relative moderation
and competitive spirit that only
Michigan athletes could bring to
"Jason and I don't even like to
lose at rock-scissors-paper,' Velis-
saris said. "We just stayed with it. It
was very competitive out there."
After Velissaris hit the shot
that sealed the victory, he and his
teammate embraced -- Velissaris
somewhat stoically, and Coben
more rambunctiously, jumping
around and shouting.
Their triumphant return to Ann
Arbor was surprisingly bittersweet.
They were able to pay their bar tab,
reimburse the Brown Jug for the
entry fee and talk on local radio
shows. Velissaris was able send his
mom and stepfather on a cruise.
But the fact that they won one of
the world's biggest drinking con-
tests has sent ripples of discontent
through the athletic department
and some alumni networks.
But while some are disap-
pointed in the way Team France
represented the University, most
have found humor and a little extra
Wolverine pride in the duo's vic-
tory. Velissaris noted that Coben,
whose more celebrated national
championship came in 2003 in
platform diving, has probably
received more media attention
after winning this tournament.
And while, after a weekend of
glory, Velissaris has returned to
working toward his doctorate in
clinical psychology and Coben has
See KOLODGY, page 7
TOM MASO GOMEZ/Daily
City Council member Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3) talks with MSA President Jesse Levine at a public
hearing about the proposed lease ordinance last night.
voiceoff on ordinance
80 other teams to win the "World
Series of Beer Pong," held just out-
side Las Vegas.
Jason Coben and Nick Velissa-
ris, both former Michigan athletes,
took the skills they honed at house
parties and bars and translated
them into success at the national
tournament, where they won 18
games, lost three and returned to
Ann Arbor with a (literally) giant
The road to the national
championship was a long one
for the duo, who met the sum-
mer between their freshman and
sophomore years at the University
when they became temporary
neighbors. They competed togeth-
er for a few months and decided
age height. Defeating Coben and
Velissaris became a badge of honor
- so much so that a Facebook.com
group has been created for those
who were able to topple the even-
tual national champions.
According to the description,
the group "I've Defeated Team
France ... and They Cried Like a
Little Bitch," is "devoted to all of
us degenerates who have missed
class, turned in papers late, failed
exams and gone to bed at 9:00 am.
for weeks straight just to see these
two little guys lay claim to the title
when we know on any given Mon.-
Sun we could lay a beatin' on them
and smash their big bong skillz!!!"
When they learned the Brown
Jug would sponsor their $550
Committee to bring opinions
about lease-date ordinance .
from hearing to City Council
By Michael Coulter
For the Daily
Student tenants sounded off as the ongoing
tug-of-war over a proposal to push back leasing
dates in Ann Arbor heated up last night in the
chambers of the Michigan Student Assembly.
MSA's External Relations Committee held
the public hearing for students and community
members to express their views about the pro-
Members of the newly formed City Council
Student Relations Committee - which includes
City Council members Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3)
and Wendy Woods (D-Ward 5), as well as five
student representatives - ran yesterday's forum.
Representatives from the committee will
present a recommendation about the ordinance
to City Council at some point between Feb. 8 and
Feb. 20. After considering the dialogue at last
night's meeting, as well as the recommendation
of the committee, the council will decide wheth-
er or not to approve the measure. If approved in
February, the lease date ordinance will appear
on a citywide ballot in March.
The current language of the ordinance pro-
See HEARING, page 7
gives back to 'U'
Mock filibuster cut short
after Senate calls it quits
By Elizabeth Wahl
For The Daily
Peter Benedek, a University alum
and senior partner of the Hollywood.
powerhouse United Talent Agency,
hasn't forgotten about his alma
He and his wife A L U
donated $1 million
to the University, the
majority of which will
and the Athletic Department.
The Benedeks are also provid-
ing funds to benefit the upcoming
Arthur Miller Theater.
Benedek is one of Hollywood's
most influential and powerful
agents. Among others, United rep-
resents Johnny Depp,
M N I Jack Black and Harri-
The first person
at his Long Island
high school to attend
Alito's nomination to
By Dylan Saunders
For the Daily
Members of the University
Law School's chapter of the
ACLU staging a mock filibus-
ter in front of the Michigan
Union yesterday went home
News that a last-minute
attempt by Democrats to block
the nomination had failed,
though, cut the filibuster to 12-
At 9:30 last night, Law stu-
dent Jeff Landau, who orga-
nized the filibuster, decided to
pack up and go home.
Before then, law students
carrying signs, informational
flyers and a bullhorn voiced
opposition to the New Jersey
with Alito and his track
record," said first-year law stu-
dent Joshua Kay, a member of
the Washtenaw County ACLU.
"The ACLU is all about pro-
tecting the Constitution and
Alito is for eroding it."
But after a cloture vote of 72
to 25 yesterday, a filibuster led
by Senate Democrats is now
out of the question. Invoking
cloture prevents senators from
debating Alito's nomination for
more than 30 hours and stops
I -~'~ -~