Michigan’s series with Notre Dame may be going on “hiatus” after next season, but the newly-minted night-game tradition at Michigan Stadium will continue. Just don’t expect the Wolverines’ two biggest rivals to be playing under the Big House lights anytime soon.
As he has in the past, UM athletic director Dave Brandon reiterated that, while he wants to continue holding night games in Ann Arbor — the only two in the venerable stadium’s history have been against the Irish — they will not come against either Michigan State or Ohio State. And Brandon is very succinct in his reasoning: fan behavior.
According to mlive.com, here’s the off-field tally of incidents that occurred Saturday night during the game against the Irish: 11 arrests, 72 ejections and 133 individuals treated by medical personnel. Speaking specifically about UM’s in-state rival, the AD said those numbers could possibly triple with a night game against the Spartans and stretch the university’s resources way too thin.
“I know how many people get arrested, I know how many people get ejected from the stadium, I know how many people get carted off to the hospital. I know what it is on a typical game and I know what it is on a Michigan State game. And if you took a Michigan State game and moved it to 8 o’clock, you could take what we experience now and maybe double or triple it and I don’t want to do that,” Brandon told the website. “To me that’s not fun. That’s not what college football should be about.”
With no Notre Dames on future UM non-conference slates, Brandon is not averse to turning to other Big Ten schools for a night game in Ann Arbor. Specifically, Brandon mentioned Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State as possibilities to continue what he’d like to see become an annual tradition.
“That may very well be a conference game. It certainly doesn’t have to be a non-conference game,” Brandon said. “When we start conference play and we’re going to bring a big brand conference team for a big showdown game, we may make that the night game and make that be special. That’s kind of our plan. …
“These schools see the importance of playing us at their place at night, so once in a while maybe we’ll show them what that’s like at Michigan Stadium.”