Annual muddy tradition at UM at risk of ending
Ann Arbor — Former members of a now-disbanded fraternity chapter at the University of Michigan say they want to continue a muddy tradition despite objections from the school and the national fraternity.
The Mud Bowl has taken place for 81 years and usually is held outside the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in conjunction with the Ann Arbor school’s homecoming events. Water dumped in the yard makes for muddy play at the charity touch football game.
Brandon Weghorst, spokesman for SAE’s national headquarters, told The Ann Arbor News that the local chapter was suspended this year because of “health-and-safety violations and the failure of members to uphold … policies and procedures.”
The Michigan Daily reported that the 82nd annual Mud Bowl is off. Some former SAE members, however, said they’ll host it as independent students. The university said the students are operating as a rogue fraternity under the name “The Flying Eagles.”
“We do in fact have the authority to host this year’s Mud Bowl. As the custodians of an 82-year tradition, we want nothing more than to host this special event, an event that is in no way associated with the SAE national organization,” said Zach Dubin, a junior and former member of SAE.
Dubin, who has participated in the last two Mud Bowls, said the national SAE organization “has no claim to the Michigan Mud Bowl and never has.”
Mary Beth Seiler, director of the university’s Office of Greek life, said the discontinuation of Mud Bowl is only in response to the involvement of members of the former SAE.
“Nobody is trying to discontinue the Mud Bowl in Greek Life,” Seiler said, “If another organization that was recognized were sponsoring the Mud Bowl, that would not be a problem.”
The Mud Bowl has raised more than $100,000 for Mott Children’s Hospital in the past five years alone. Homecoming events take place next month at the University of Michigan, including the Wolverines football game against Northwestern on Oct. 10.