There may be over four months until the first official football game for the 2013 season, but that didn’t stop thousands of fans clad in maize and blue from braving the cold and, at some points, snow to watch the Michigan football team scrimmage at the Mott Spring Game.
The event — which kicked off just after noon on Saturday — raised over $60,000 for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The exact figure will be released in the coming weeks.
Though the game was free and open to everyone, donations were accepted at the door as well as online. Since 2010, the scrimmage has raised close to $1 million for Mott. Drawstring backpacks, game-day approved stadium bench seat cushion and passes to a preseason football practice greeted those who were generous enough to donate to the cause.
The “Battle at the Big House” men’s lacrosse game against Ohio State was also played Saturday to raise money for Mott.
Hannah Ashmore, a development officer for the University of Michigan Health System, said besides the dreary weather, the fundraiser ran smoothly.
“It’s definitely a successful partnership,” Ashmore said of the various events planned collaboratively between UMHS and the Athletics Department.
PNC Bank was the presenting sponsor for this year’s event. PNC President Rick DeVore, an University alum, said the bank became a sponsor of the event four years ago because of PNC’s charity work with children. This year, PNC donated $26,000, a $1,000 increase from last year.
“We encourage our clients and our prospects to donate to Mott,” DeVore said. “It’s a great win-win when you think about it … It’s great to give back to the community.”
Current and former patients from Mott were invited to attend the game, where they were seated on the field with parents and friends.
Andrea Quigg’s son, Jett, 8, is being treated at Mott for hydrocephalus, a condition in which an abnormal amount of fluid is present in the brain. Quigg said Jett and his family couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be with friends and support their team.
“We were always Michigan fans, but when your son is cared for here, you kind of bleed blue,” Quigg said.
Before Team 134 took the field, the fifth annual Victors Classic Alumni football game drew a crowd of family and friends to the Big House. Alumni from five decades of Michigan football competed, including Billy Taylor, Russell Davis and Chuck Winters.
1981 graduate and former Michigan quarterback Jim Breaugh said after the game that he played because of the camaraderie he feels not only with his former teammates, but with the University community in general.
“You come back because from the day we were all here, Michigan football has been a family,” Breaugh said. “That’s what makes this place special. That’s what’s made Michigan, Michigan.”