[Ed. IMHO another must-read prior to the final Notre Dame game on Saturday.  Here’s John Kryk’s (Natural Enemies) guest post from 2010, on the 100th anniversary of when Michigan cancelled the scheduled game with Notre Dame on the brink of the 1910 game.  For more, check out Kryk’s piece from this week, putting Letter-gate in historical context. ]

1910 Headlines 

Guest post by JOHN KRYK of Natural Enemies – (Follow John Kryk on Twitter)
Note:  Originally posted November 4, 2010

What is it about this date in Michigan history? Today isn’t the first time that the apex, and resolution, of one of the biggest off-field controversies in Michigan football history was reached on Nov. 4, ’10.

It was exactly 100 years ago today — on Friday, Nov. 4, 1910 — that Michigan authorities cancelled the showdown football game scheduled for the next day between the Wolverines and the University of Notre Dame on old Ferry Field, now site of UM’s track and field oval.  In a nutshell, the Wolverines contended that at least two Fighting Irish players were ineligible under the rules of the game contract, and when Notre Dame refused to sit them out, Michigan pulled the plug on the contest, and, as it turned out, on the series for the next 32 years.

As I wrote in the two incarnations of my book Natural Enemies, just who was right and who was wrong is difficult to ascertain, because the status of the disputed players rested on the vague and variant eligibility rules of the day. That each side devised interpretations to suit its position, then steadfastly defended that position, should come as no surprise. Nor should the explosions that followed.

Michigan had literally taught the game of football to Notre Dame, in November 1887. For the next 21 years, the teams played off and on, with  Michigan always winning. Small-fry colleges in the Midwest, such as Notre Dame at the time, were always desperate to get a spot on the football schedule of a Midwestern giant such as Michigan, and when they failed it could devastate them. But as I first wrote in Natural Enemies in 1994 (13 years before Mike Hart popularized the analogy):

In Michigan’s eyes, Notre Dame was just the pesky kid brother who refuses to understand he can’t always hang out with the big boys. And when kid brother goes off whining to the other small fry on the block, well, big brother couldn’t care less. But kid brother was determined to prove he belonged. Indeed, for the next two decades, Notre Dame aspired to be everything that mighty Michigan already was in athletics.

In 1909 Notre Dame finally defeated Michigan in its ninth attempt, 11-3 at Ann Arbor. It was the only blight on an otherwise landmark year for Yost and his Wolverines, who knocked off defending national champion Penn in Philadelphia, and Conference champion Minnesota in Minneapolis. The loss rankled Yost and his team, because Michigan was observing the new Conference rules that barred freshmen and limited player eligibility to three years, while Notre Dame was still wantonly playing freshmen and four-year men.

Michigan grudgingly rescheduled Notre Dame for 1910, solely to give Yost and the players a shot at redemption. But they insisted Notre Dame play by Michigan’s rules — namely, no playing any freshmen or four-year men.

rule_6
Rule 6 of the 1910 Notre Dame-Michigan game contract

Come fall, three of Notre Dame’s star players from 1909 returned — grizzled linemen Ralph Dimmick and George Philbrook, and back Lee Matthews. Michigan did more digging into their pasts and found that Dimmick and Philbrook were in their seventh years of college football, after having played one season at the University of Pacific in Oregon, three at Whitman College in Washington state, and two previous at Notre Dame. And Matthews had played at the University of Washington in 1907 and the two previous years at Notre Dame. But it wasn’t as cut-and-dried as that.   Pacific and Whitman weren’t included on the Conference’s “list of colleges” for the determination of counting such years of eligibility, and thus Notre Dame argued these men were only in their third years.

dim-phill

 Dimmick and Philbrook

Michigan filed an official protest to Notre Dame four days before the game. For the rest of the week, the athletic authorities at both universities debated the complicated interpretations — first with each other, and then in the press. By Friday, Nov. 4 at about 2 p.m., the chairman of Michigan’s Board in Control of Athletics, Evans Holbrook, spoke with his counterpart at ND, Father Crumley, by phone. Neither side backed down, and Holbrook cancelled the game.

The Michigan Daily, for one, was ecstatic. A few months earlier, after a scuffle at a Michigan-Notre Dame baseball game in Ann Arbor, managing editor Lee A. White wrote the following editorial — to this day, likely the most scathing attack of Notre Dame athletics ever written, under the heading “Brass-knuckle” Athletics:

It’s time to call quits with Notre Dame. There is no reason for evasion. The plain, blunt fact is that there is a limit to the amount of rowdyism that even (an independent) university such as Michigan is at the moment has to stand. The disgraceful demonstration of the Indiana athletes during yesterday’s game is the climax of a long series of questionable acts, and common decency demands no less drastic action than a complete severance of all athletic relations with them…

Were this a single instance of the coarseness of Notre Dame’s athletes there would be little enough to say, but it isn’t. The close observer of the conduct of that school’s teams could cite you any number of like incidents; one dates but a year back, on the local diamond. Why does Michigan continue to give that institution character and prestige by putting up with her mucker spirit?

And the worst of it is we have absolutely nothing to gain by the association that we have built up. We have known all along that despite chicken-hearted “investigations” Notre Dame is universally a supporter of “ringsters” and ineligibles such that she has absolutely no standing in respectable company.

Newspapers across the Midwest went big with the story. For almost a week thereafter, sports sections chronicled the charges and counter charges. Michigan’s Holbrook and AD Phil Bartelme slammed Notre Dame, while N.D.’s Crumley and former AD Harry Curtis shot back at Michigan – all of which added up to one of the ugliest off-field controversies of its generation.

The school newspapers, of course, best captured each side’s militant point of view.

From The Michigan Daily:

Notre Dame and Michigan have played their last game together, and for this we are truly grateful… A local paper bemoans the loss of the hotly contested Notre Dame games. But Michigan need not worry. When the field of fair and square colleges, capable of putting up a good fight against Michigan, runs below the number necessary to fill our schedule, we’ll be ready to vote for the cessation of athletic competition.

From The Notre Dame Scholastic:

We are right – we are sure of that. The ruling which may possibly deprive us of two athletes will be a ruling on a technicality, and no sane man will consider that a fault … We can win a football game or a track meet, but in the matter of post-factum technicalities, we’re outclassed.

Unlike the current off-field Michigan controversy, resolved today, in 1910 the neophyte NCAA had no national jurisdiction or mission to investigate anything, let alone make any binding rulings. Schools not in the same athletic conference were pretty much left to their own squabbling.

How far have things changed across the board in Michigan football in the 100 years since? Oh, quite a bit.

Perhaps this sums it up best.

In 1903, Michigan athletic director Charles Baird happily wrote the sports editor of the Detroit Free Press, passing along six complementary tickets for his staff’s use to cover the Michigan-Chicago showdown game, saying, “We feel that the Free Press is very friendly towards Michigan and Michigan athletics.”

[Ed. Thanks to John Kryk of the wonderful Natural Enemies for this outstanding guest post!]

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[Ed. Originally posted Feb 7 2011, I’m moving this up front due to the 30th Anniversary]

I’ve been digging out a few interesting old stories on the periphery of Michigan football in recent days and here’s another story I think you’ll like.

You know Bob Wojnowski of course, the long time Detroit News columnist and the Nutter Butter-gobbling co-host of the great ‘Stoney and Wojo’ radio show from 1995 to 2009.

Wojo is a Michigan grad and cut his journalistic teeth at the Michigan Daily three decades ago.  In one of his final assignments as sports editor, he and Daily photographer Brian Masck became part of the story back in 1982 after they spent a few hours in a Columbus jail.

After midnight on November 20, 1982, the evening before The Game, the two were down on High Street taking in the sights and sounds with a few of their peers from The Lantern.  When a pickled reveler started cussing out the police monitoring the scene, the cops got rough–brutally shoving him up against a wall.  Masck questioned the police tactics and whipped out his camera hoping to capture the scene.

When the cops told him to put away the camera, Masck challenged the legality of such a request and was arrested.  The Daily later published this shot, the best Masck could manage:

masck photo

Meanwhile, Wojo saw this go down and protested Brian’s arrest (and also tried to fetch the car keys in Masck’s pocket).  Wojo was promptly arrested as well.

They spent a few hours in the Columbus clink before being released around 6 a.m.

Fast forward to the early 1983.   Once the “charges” were dropped against he and Masck, Wojo dropped this guest opinion piece/bomb (he was no longer editor) into the March 22, 1983 Daily.  I was going to highlight a few sections but it’s too good.  For those who have heard the story before I still encourage you to read this piece of vintage Wojo from the aftermath of this incident:

wojo-82

I’ll have a pretty interesting follow-up in the next couple days [Ed. It’s posted now]. I reached out and exchanged a few emails with Masck about all this and he shared some great stuff.  I asked him (not being snarky, I was generally curious) why he had his camera at with him at 1am-ish on High Street, back when cameras didn’t fit in your pocket of course.   You’ll love his answer.

Related:
Part II
High Street Blues (‘82 Daily arrests – Part Two)

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[Ed. Originally posted Feb 7 2011, I’m moving this up front due to the 30th Anniversary]

If you haven’t, take a look at the first post on the events & aftermath of the 1982 jailing of then-Michigan Daily editor Bob ‘Wojo’ Wojnowski and photographer Brian Masck in Columbus, the night before The Game that season.  Bob’s 1983 opinion piece on all of this is one for the books.

You may have heard Wojo comment recall that night over the years, but I’m not sure how many people have heard from Masck—the guy who first stepped in to question (and photograph) the police before he was arrested.

Recently we swapped a few emails about those events and he shared some great stuff.  Other than to ask him about any lingering memories or collateral, I was generally curious why he had a camera with him after 1 AM on High Street the night before the game.  Of course you couldn’t fit a decent camera in your pocket in 1982.

“I learned as a freshman that it was important to have a camera ready to shoot because, on April 18, 1981, I was the only photographer to capture the arrest of student/gunman Leo Kelly being led to a squad car in front of my dorm, Bursley Hall,” Masck shared via email.   “Kelly was convicted in the murder of students Edward Siwik and Douglas McGreaham.  The photograph was published around the world.  So I carried a camera everywhere and tried to be prepared to shoot when news happened.”

Here’s Masck’s photo of Leo Kelly during those horrifying days on campus:

leo_kelly_brian_masck_photo

That’s not the only Masck photo that’s been seen around the world.  If you are reading this post there’s a 99.4% chance you have a vague familiarity another one of his photos:

masck_desmond

Thought so.

On that night in Columbus, thanks to the cops, Masck didn’t get the shot he wanted.  But the police were concerned enough to seize the camera and arrest him despite the protests from he and Wojo who made it known they were journalists.

“Today, with cell phone cameras, that incident would have been on YouTube before we made it to the lockup,” Masck told me.  “Boy, how technology has improved the sharing of information.”

“On the other front, we continue to witness media arrests in insignificant things like our High Street arrest, but just last week in Egypt where an attempt to silence/blame journalists failed to produce the desired results.  Big events or small, the easiest target may be the journalist. Without images of an event and credible reportage, the truth can be easily hidden.  [It’s a] struggle that won’t likely end.”

These days Masck is co-owner of Media Café Online, LLC a small Internet/Media company in Linden, Michigan—a safe distance from the jurisdiction of the Columbus police.

Related:
* Part I: Low Point on High Street (1982)

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[Ed. This was originally posted November 3, 2010, but had to deliver this Update]

Update October 7, 2011:  Thanks to the generosity of fellow collector Ken Magee [of Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia], there is no longer a hole in Jack Briegel’s home ticket collection.   Apparently Magee decided he want Briegel to have it and left the elusive 1943 ‘Michigan State’ ticket stub on his porch last Friday.  What a kind gesture.  I’ll surely do a follow-up on Magee and his collection sometime soon. Here’s the original story for context:

Original Post:
I obviously check out eBay somewhat frequently for the purposes of writing this series but this time I thought I’d introduce you to someone who’s a pro in the memorabilia game.

This month for GoBlueWolverine Mag I submitted a piece on Ann Arbor resident Jack Briegel and his extraordinary collection.   His focus is on ticket stubs and get this, of the 517 games played at Michigan Stadium to date, Briegel has a full ticket or stub from all of them but one.  That’s right – he’s missing 1!

That elusive piece of the puzzle?  A stub to the 1943 game against Western Michigan.  Briegel has a slot waiting for it:

1943 gap

The ticket to that September 25 game actually lists Michigan State as the opponent.   But the Spartans did not field a team that season as it was common for teams to shut down their football squads that year due to obligations to the war effort.  Folks seemed to have better things to do that fall day as just over 14,000 bothered to show up, and apparently it wasn’t memorable enough for many fans to bother to hang onto their stubs.

Certainly a few tickets to that game exist.  According to the records at ticketmuseum.com, a gent named Ken Magee owns that rare ticket and here’s a look:

1943-Michigan State

Briegel’s not the only one taking on this quest.  Collector Dennis Dail of Bloomington, IL is also going for the ticket gusto, missing a mere 8 of the 517 home games:

1945 – Great Lakes
1944 – Indiana, Iowa Pre-Flight
1943 – Mich St., Indiana, Wisconsin
1928 – Ohio Wesleyan
1927 – Ohio Wesleyan

That ’27 Wesleyan game is of course the first ticket to the Big House and very tough to find, in fact, it’s probably Briegel’s favorite of all the stubs adorning his walls.

Of course if you have that elusive ’43 MSU ticket or anyone from Dail’s missing set sitting around let me know.

Coincidentally there’s quite a few rare tickets up on eBay, you can check out those auctions here:

1942 Michigan at Notre Dame

image

A great interview with John Beilein on WTKA 1050AM this morning in the aftermath of the Duke game and of course the season.  He breaks down in detail a few situations in the final minutes of the game and of course talks to the future and how he thinks these guys will respond.  Enjoy:

As always – check out all of the WTKA podcasts here!

There has been a fabulous dump of old Bo Schembechler wire photos on eBay as of late.  I posted this one of Bo grinning before the critical Michigan State hoops game a couple weeks back, so I thought I’d better do the same today.

Here we’ve got Bo flanked by the great Jim Mandich and Rose Queen Pamela Tedesco, shaking hands with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland before the 1970 Rose Bowl (HT: Steve Sap):

looksmeintheeyemouse
You might know that Jim Mandich is battling cancer right now and you can provide your support via this website.  The seller is asking $15.88 for the Bo in Disneyland pic.

Here’s a few more good ones of General Bo.

First, Bo furious:

bo_furious

Bo loving it: boauburn

Go Blue!  Beat Blue Devils.

19. March 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , ,

If you peeked into the M Twitterverse in the waning moments of the dismantling of the Volunteers early Friday afternoon, you got a tiny taste of how it will feel if once we tip over the Buckeyes on a future Saturday in November. 

Tiger Blood.  ESPN captured this sign in the crowd:

TigerBlood

And apparently Zack Novak spotted it, loved it, and found Kevin Pollack after the game a retrieved the sign.  Rothstein:

The fan who made the sign happily obliged, and it sat in his locker after the game.

“I just wanted the sign,” Novak said. “I think Charlie Sheen’s hilarious.

“That’s an awesome sign, that’s my favorite sign.”

The sign will go back with Novak to Ann Arbor, where he said it will hang in his room — likely right over his bed.

It’s unknown whether Novak ask for the number of the gal doing the hair flip, or where the dude behind Pollack got his Jalen-Chris-Juwan-Jimmy-Ray shirt.  I’d check here.

Drawing Blood.  You’ve probably heard several dozen times that Michigan didn’t make a free throw in the game, but to reverse paraphrase Patrick Ewing, we didn’t make a lot of free throws because we didn’t shoot a lot of free throws.  No one’s complaining, but maybe Smotrycz should have headed to the stripe after this?:

Smotrycz

Cold-Blooded.  What was the most cold blooded moment of the game?  Darius Morris’s drive and behind-the-head scoop at the end of the half is up there.  Douglass’s 30 foot bomb followed by the two-handed Disco Stu slam?

Bad Blood.  Funny, many thought there was huge potential for a major Fab Five tie-in to the 2011 tournament—but not in the form of a Duke-Michigan game.  Many like me thought we were heading for a bracket potentially pairing a #10 Michigan in a second round battle with Steve Fisher and #2 San Diego State.  I’d rather be playing Fish but bring on the Devils.  Maybe by Sunday someone will explain to the “classy” Grant Hill that Jalen was talking about their feelings in 1991-92.

Related:
*
Remember the Vols crushing Michigan in the Citrus Bowl in ‘02?  Check out my epic “post” on the matter from back then.  Vintage.
* Great stuff from UM Hoops.   Post-game video, Five key plays, and more.

18. March 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , , ,

I was back on Spartan Nation radio with host Hondo Carpenter this week talking Hardcore Pawn, Michigan Hoops, NCAA tourney expectations for the Wolverines and the Big Ten, and whether I’d be rooting for the Buckeyes in the tournament*.   Dig it:

 

 

 

* No.