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UM panel recommends name change for Yost Ice Arena

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The University of Michigan may remove the name of college football legend Fielding H. Yost from the Yost Ice Arena.

A panel has recommended the university remove Yost's name and is asking members of the school campus community for feedback on the proposal. The President’s Advisory Committee on University History is accepting input on the plan until June 7.

As athletic director at Michigan from 1921-41, Yost conceived and oversaw the building of today's modern athletic campus that included Michigan Stadium and Yost Field House, seen behind him in 1938.  It's now Yost Ice Arena.

Comments may be submitted through a new online portal. A umich.edu email address is required. Community members can also submit feedback via email or U.S. mail.

A summary of the feedback will be included in the committee’s final recommendation, which will be given to UM President Mark Schlissel, who can accept, reject or modify it. However, only the Board of Regents can remove an honorific building name.

Officials said the panel of university historians studied the issue for a year after several requests to remove Yost's name from the arena. It determined that Yost's contributions to UM football and athletics were inequitably placed above the “profoundly deep and negative impact he had on people of color,” they said.

Yost was UM's head football coach and athletic director from 1901-41.

As football coach from 1901-23, in 1925 and in 1926, he gained acclaim for his “point a minute” teams and built the foundation for the team's winning tradition.

Yost served as the school's athletic director from 1921-41. During his tenure, he conceived and oversaw the construction of Michigan Stadium.

It was also during this time that Yost was instrumental in benching African American football star Willis Ward because Georgia Tech refused to play Michigan at home if an African American was allowed to play. That decision was a factor in the committee's decision to recommend changing the arena's name.

More:Willis Ward, Gerald Ford and Michigan football's darkest day'

Yost retired in 1941 and died in Ann Arbor five years later. 

The Field House was named for Yost in 1923 based in part on a Michigan Daily-led campaign. In 1973, the facility was remodeled and renamed Yost Ice Arena.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez