Oct. 28: Beyond rivalry; keeping communities safe

To the students of our two great universities:

This weekend, our two football programs will renew their rivalry for the 113th time. And it is safe to say that throughout the storied rivalry, this year certainly will be unique.

While both teams want to win the game and bring home the coveted Paul Bunyan Trophy, we also must keep the game in perspective. The health and safety of our communities is paramount.

This game in particular is more than just a rivalry. It is an opportunity for each one of you to cheer on our teams – from home – while keeping the players, their families and our communities safe during the pandemic.

We ask all fans to consider their actions while watching the Oct. 31 game, which coincides with Halloween. As you may be aware, on Oct. 20, the Washtenaw County Health Department authorized a 14-day Stay in Place Order for University of Michigan undergraduates due to the spread of COVID-19. Under the order, U-M undergraduate students living in housing on-campus, or off-campus in the Ann Arbor area are required to stay in place and remain in their designated residences and are not permitted to have visitors. U-M fully supports this important initiative to protect the health of the campus community.

Please plan to cheer on your school from the safety of your own home, and not with a large group of people. In-person gatherings increase the potential risk of becoming infected with or spreading COVID-19. Please be mindful of your fellow fans, your families and friends.

Tailgating is prohibited on the U-M campus and strongly discouraged in Ann Arbor. Michigan State University fans are asked not to travel to Ann Arbor to watch the game. As a reminder, there are no public ticket sales for the game. University parking lots are closed, and tailgating will not be allowed at Pioneer High School or Ann Arbor Golf and Outing.

As we do every year, we maintain high expectations of our students, staff, and community members and are committed to representing our universities and our great state with class and shared respect.


Warde Manuel
Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics
University of Michigan

Bill Beekman
Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
Michigan State University

Laura Blake Jones
Dean of Students
University of Michigan

Philip Strong
Interim Dean & Assistant Provost for Academic Standards and Student Conduct
Michigan State University