19311003 Two Bucks, Two Games:  A ducat for a doubleheader (1931)

The 1930s are a underappreciated period of Michigan football, and the goings on in 1931 alone provide a representative morsel.   Click below for a spicy version of This Week in Michigan Football covers a wide range of events on campus in the wacky year eighty four years ago:

For more on the Rum Raid of 1931 click here
For more on the special charity football game played at the end of the 1931 season click here.

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.  

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This morning we take a trip back to 1931 – a difficult time for the American people including those on campus in Ann Arbor. Not only was the country in the midst of the Great Depression, it was illegal to drown your sorrows as the law of the land was still Prohibition– making alcohol possession a crime.

These social forces were evident in 1931 as the year started out with a major booze raid on the local campus fraternities – all told 75 students were nabbed including the captain of the 1930 football team, a forward on the hoops team, the president of the student council and the sports editor at the Michigan Daily. The students were eventually given a slap on the wrist, but they never got back the estimated 50 quarts whiskey and gin that were confiscated by the cops.

The athletic department had other problems, namely how to get fans through the Michigan Stadium gates. The great Depression rendered a two buck ticket to the Big House a luxury, eventhough head Coach Harry Kipke had assembled a championship-calibre squad.

In a ploy to draw fans into the Big House, it was on this day in 1931 that U of M played a double header – that’s right, 2 games on one afternoon – to start the year. The opponents were Central State Teachers College and Michigan Normal, known today at Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan respectively. Naturally the Kipke’s Wolverines took both lambs to the slaughter, pitching 27-0 and 34-0 shutouts—- but only 13 thousand fans bothered to watch.

To conclude the bizarre year, the Western Conference agreed to schedule a full slate of “extra” games to benefit a fund for unemployed workers.   Michigan was originally set to face Northwestern in the Big House, which would have set-up a match of the teams that shared the 1930 conference crown. But just weeks before the game, the conference brass shifted the schedule to have Northwestern play Purdue in Chicago at Soldier Field – and Michigan was left with Wisconsin.

Upon hearing the swich-er-oo folks in Ann Arbor were steaming. Fielding Yost called the whole thing a mess, and predicted a light turnout. The Michigan Daily suggested a boycott. Charity be damned – students were quoted saying they “wouldn’t give a nickel” to see a weak Wisconsin squad.

Ironically the biggest benefactor of the whole event, which raised $154,000, was Meeechigan. Northwestern ended up losing to Purdue 7-0, so those who watched the maize and blue beat the Badgers 16-0 actually saw them earn a share of the league title and perhaps some momentum in the next two glorious years — when Kipke and crew won back-to-back national titles.


For more, check out and For the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff, this is Greg Dooley.

A wise man once said it is better to look good than to feel good.  In the aftermath of Saturday’s mess and everything else going on you don’t feel good.  So a suggestion: gather up the kids and head down to Contempo Salon and Spa Monday between 4-8pm to support a fundraiser for Chad Carr.  

Get a cut and you’ll look good.  Support this cause and you’ll feel good.  Details:

Cuts for Carr

Go Blue!  #ChadTough

[Ed. With the talk of boycotting Saturday’s game (or at least the kickoff), a repost.  It’s not the first time there was talk on campus of boycotting a home game, although the circumstances in 1931 were quite different. Originally published in July 2011.]


I rarely feature ticket stubs on eBay Watch but this one is pretty unique.  In 1931 the Western Conference agreed to schedule a full slate of games to benefit a fund for the many Depression-era unemployed worker at the end of the season.   The league also agreed the games would count in the tight conference standings.

A full unused ticket to the game between the Wolverines and Wisconsin on November 28, 1931 went up on on eBay:

Wisconsin Ticket Stub
Check out the backdrop of the stub with the football player tossing a bag of loot (“A Forward Pass”) to the mass of needy onlookers with arms outstretched.

It’s actually not a shock that this ticket appears to be unused given the story of this one.  Charity be damned, barely 9,000 fans (some reports say only 7,000) bothered to show up for the game.  This ticket sold for $1, others went for $2.  Regular season ducats went for between $2-$3 that season.

Why the poor turnout?

Well, it seems that early in the process of determining the match-ups for the charity games, it was decided that Michigan would square off in the Big House against Northwestern.  The teams had shared the conference crown in 1930 and were near the top of the standings again.  Thinking they could raise more money by putting Northwestern in Chicago’s Solider Field, a couple weeks before the date they changed course and pitted the Wildcats against Purdue. Michigan was left with Wisconsin.


Everyone in Ann Arbor – from Fielding Yost to the editors of the Michigan Daily — went berserk.   After the Badgers were assigned, director Yost told reporters, “This whole thing has been such mess that I won’t even venture a conservative guess on how many will turn out.  It won’t be many.”

The Daily suggested a boycott.  Students were quoted saying they “wouldn’t give a nickel” or even “cross the street” to see a weak Wisconsin squad.

Ironically the biggest benefactor of the whole event, which raised $154,000, might have been Michigan.  Northwestern ended up losing to Purdue 7-0, so those who watched Michigan defeat Wisconsin 16-0 actually saw them earn a share of the league title.

The Wisconsin win propelled Michigan into the next two championship seasons when Kipke and crew won back-to-back national titles in 1932 and 1933.

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Saturday night at the Big House I’ll be wearing these:

My Adidas ! 

Have I lost my mind?   Perhaps.  But it’s for a great cause and what I hear is an excellent event:

The Red Shoe Affair Ann Arbor

On Saturday, February 8, the Ronald McDonald Houses of Ann Arbor will host their second annual Red Shoe Affair presented by the Southeastern McDonald’s Owner Operator Association. This exciting evening, located in the beautiful Jack Roth Stadium Club at Michigan Stadium will include an exclusive behind the scenes look at the Big House with a strolling dinner, cocktails, auctions and entertainment. The event helps build awareness and funding for both of the Ronald McDonald Houses of Ann Arbor.
With nearly 1,500 families served annually, the Ronald McDonald Houses of Ann Arbor has provided families with more than just a place to rest but a place where families can support each other and remain close to their child when they are needed most. We believe that when a child is hospitalized, the love and support of family is as powerful as any medicine prescribed. Over the years our mission has remained the same while the need for our services continues to grow.

If you’ll be there look for the guy wearing those shoes and say hi.   If you are interested in joining me you can get tickets here, support the silent auction here, and find out much, much more about Ronald McDonald House here.  

Go Red!  Go Blue!


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Here’s a few pics from the 5th Annual Swing to Cure Diabetes held at the UM Golf Course on Monday afternoon.   According to former Michigan QB/DB and event organizer Rich Hewlett, this was one of the biggest turnouts in the half decade of the outing that benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UMCDC).   I don’t have the final numbers but they raised a lot of money and ran another wonderful event.

Special guests this year included Mike Hart, Ira Weintraub, Coach Mo, Coach Hanlon and Coach Hoke:

Coach Hoke addressing the UMGC crowd, flanked by Hewlett and his son Jeffrey, a current U-M student living with Type 1 diabetes.   I spotted Coach Hoke taking a few swings out there and yes, it went about a well as you’d guess (think blacksmith)

1  - Moeller Hanlon Coaches Hanlon and Moeller circa 2013 and 1969 (inset)

  1 - Ira and RichBefore MC’ing the live auction, Ira flashed his jazz hands (& perhaps a few of the moves he broke out at the GHW Gala after party?)

Go Blue!

MVictors Swing to Cure

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It was a pleasure to join Ira and Sam this morning on WTKA 1050AM to talk about Debbie Williams-Hoak’s wonderful Magic of Christmas Adopt a Family program benefitting families in the Washtenaw County area.  I’ve been a big supporter of this since they started their affiliation with WTKA a couple years back and I encourage y’all to join in and help.

I chatted with Ira & Sam about Debbie’s program, Rich Rod, Brandon and his decision, about the Soccer program and more.  In two parts:


from the 2008 Gift wrapping party

WTKA is promoting it all week and you can call into 734-998-1050 or email studio [at] to help out.   Also the gift wrapping is going to be held at the U-M Golf Course Clubhouse and given the volume of families involved, you can bet they’ll need some help.

005 - Hewlett
Hewlett welcoming everyone to the event

An excellent event put on by former Michigan QB Rich Hewlett as today he held his 2nd ‘Swing to Cure Diabetes’ event benefitting the U-M Comprehensive Diabetes Center and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).   Coach Lloyd Carr and Cathy Schembechler were the honorary co-chairs once again.

Joining Carr and Schembechler amongst the golfing groups were coach Jerry Hanlon, broadcaster Jim Brandstatter, former NFL coordinator Sherman Lewis, and several of Hewlett’s former U-M teammates. 

A couple years ago Mrs. Schembechler donated a football that sat in Bo’s TV room signed by Bo and Don Canham for the silent auction.  This year she brought something quite unique – a handwritten set of talking points (on a manila file folder) that Bo would use during public speaking events.  It sold for nearly $1,000 and I was able to get a shot of it from the winner, here’s just a clip:

005 - Bo Speech

Coach Carr made it around the course to meet and take pics with most of the golfing groups but not mine :( .    A couple more photos from the day:

001 - Hanlon
Coach Hanlon donning his “We Stayed” lid


002 - Brandy Cathy
Brandy with Cathy Schembechler before we teed off


004 - MVictors 
My favorite hole on the course


According to my deep cover, bunkered moles at the athletic department, this sweet item has been relisted on the auction to support the Pat Maloy Scholarship.  A frame and signed ‘M’ flag containing the signatures of an amazing array of Michigan football greats.  From the auction description:

You will never find a greater piece of Michigan football memorabilia anywhere. This is a two foot tall by three foot wide Michigan flag autographed by 46 of the greatest players to ever don the Maize & Blue in Michigan Stadium. The flag is professionally matted and framed with UV protectant plexiglass. The flag is autographed by all of the following former Michigan stars:
Charles Woodson. Jake Long, Ron Kramer, Anthony Carter, Jim Harbaugh,  Anthony “A-Train” Thomas, Larry Foote, Victor Hobson, Elvis Grbac, Will Johnson, Morgan Trent, Tim Jamison, Aaron Shea, Rick Leach, Don Dufek Sr., Don Dufek Jr., Ali Haji Shiekh, Bill Dufek, Harlan Huckleby, Stan Edwards, Steve Morrison, Adam Kraus, Derek Walker, Chris Floyd, Clint Copenhaver, Ron Simpkins, Glen Steele, Mark Messner, Jamie Morris, Bob Chappuis, Greg McMurtry, John Wangler, Marcus Ray. Billy Taylor, Reggie McKenzie, Buster Stanley, Jim Brandstatter, Scott Dreisbach, Mark Campbell, Rondell Biggs, Carl Diggs, James Hall, Doug Skene, Ron Bellamy, Andre Weathers and Eric Mayes. Bid high and often and good luck.

Item is hanging in Moe Sport Shops on until the end of the auction if you wish to see it in person.

Bid on it here!

* A nice complement, how about your very own Michigan Football lockers, pulled out of Schembechler Hall to make way for the renovation?