Rivalries tend to bring the best out of the opposing teams. They also bring the best out of the respective fanbases, which was evidenced by events in South Bend early Wednesday morning.
According to an e-mail sent to the Daily from someone with the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, a group of University students traveled to Notre Dame’s campus and put up a blue banner reading “Beat the Irish,” complete with a maize Block ‘M’ over one of the gates of Notre Dame Stadium.
The pranksters insisted on anonymity, but the Daily traced the origin of the e-mail to University servers in Ann Arbor.
One member said eight students made the trip to South Bend and another two were involved in planning. The person claimed the group had little difficulty scaling the gate, and once inside, they used zip ties to secure the banner.
“The ironic part is that there were some Notre Dame students camped out on the other side of the stadium to protect it, but we came through the campus rather than from the road, so they didn’t see us coming,” one member said in a separate email. “The hardest part was making sure there was no one around … when we went to put up the banner, because there was absolutely no cover to hide behind as we hung it, and it is directly across from one of the main campus libraries.”
The group also claimed they raised a Michigan flag on a flagpole in one of the campus’ quadrangles and adorned statues of former coaches with Michigan apparel.
“With little lighting we couldn’t get a great picture,” the member continued. “Regardless, it was well worth it knowing that as kids were walking to class early this morning across the pristine lawns and perfectly manicured gardens of South Bend, there was a maize and blue ‘M’ flag flying above their heads.
“Ultimately, we just wanted to show our pride in Michigan while encouraging passion for and loyalty to this great University we call our own.”
The Big Ten Network reported that Notre Dame officials removed the banner early Wednesday morning.
A similar situation occurred on the Ohio State campus on the morning of Nov. 19, 2009, when Michigan students traveled to Columbus and raised the ‘M’ flag outside Orton Hall and University Hall. Ohio State student paper The Lantern published a photo of the flag accompanied with the headline, ‘A travesty strikes OSU campus.’
— This original version of this article was edited for print and to add context at 9:20 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2012.