SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock, the Division II school whose football team’s scores are announced at Michigan home games, has engaged in discussions with the Michigan Athletic Department about playing a football game at Michigan Stadium, according to multiple sources at the school.
Slippery Rock Athletic Director Paul Lueken said on Thursday that Slippery Rock is “exploring the options” with the Michigan Athletic Department, but said, “nothing is definite.” A potential plan would have Slippery Rock playing another opponent, not Michigan, as early as next season.
“We love our positive relationship with Michigan football fans and how supportive they are of our program and look forward to a possible game in the future,” Lueken said.
Michigan declined to discuss the matter, but Associate Athletic Director Dave Ablauf cautioned that these conversations aren’t uncommon and in many cases, discussions don’t necessarily signify a deal is imminent.
“We have discussions with a lot of schools, some that come to fruition and some that don’t due to a multitude of reasons,” Ablauf wrote in an e-mail. “As a matter of policy, we won’t comment on any on-going discussions that we might have with a school until the ink is dry on a contract.”
Slippery Rock previously played at Michigan Stadium in 1979 against Shippensburg in front of a crowd of a Division-II record 61,143 fans and again in 1981 against Wayne State. More recently, Michigan honored members of the Slippery Rock football team and athletic department during a game against Wisconsin in 2010.
The announcement of Slippery Rock scores had long been a tradition in Michigan Stadium dating back to 1959 when fans cheered the school with the funny-sounding name. The tradition spread to other schools, and Slippery Rock has played games at places including Fenway Park, in 1937, and the Rose Bowl in 1964. Michigan Athletic Director revived the tradition of announcing Slippery Rock’s scores at home games in 2010.
The Michigan men’s basketball team will open its regular-season schedule this year against Slippery Rock on Nov. 9.
Slippery Rock President Cheryl Norton said in an interview that a potential game at Michigan Stadium would ensure that football is a “bridge between the two institutions.”
“I think it would be a wonderful exchange between the schools that started 35 years ago and hopefully will continue,” Norton said.