Warde Manuel: Michigan could play Notre Dame, not MSU, at night

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel is not certain if the Wolverines will host a night game beyond the season opener against Middle Tennessee State, but he was clear about one thing: Michigan-Michigan State will not be played in prime time.

Manuel touched on a number of subjects during his appearance on The Detroit News’ “View from the Press Box” podcast this week, including night games, a possible Fab Five reunion and his opinion on a one-time transfer.

Michigan opens the season Aug. 31 at Michigan Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. game against Middle Tennessee State. The home game against Notre Dame on Oct. 26 also has the potential to be a night game.

“If I was going to guess I would guess (Notre Dame),” Manuel said on the podcast. “We can have one more or we can have none. …If I got a vote we wouldn’t have any.”

Michigan played Michigan State in a night game in Ann Arbor two years ago, but that won’t happen this season because they meet on Nov. 16, which is after the 10th week of the season.

“Both ADs would have to agree (to play it at night), and it’s not even an option,” Manuel said.

Michigan State beat then-No. 7 Michigan, 14-10, in monsoon-like conditions. But both programs had been hesitant to play the in-state rivalry at night because of the nature of rivalry.

According to University of Michigan police records from 2017, there were five arrests — the most of any game at Michigan Stadium that year. In contrast, there were two during the Cincinnati game and one when Michigan played Air Force. UM police at the time said there was nothing atypical in terms of arrests and ejection about the Michigan-Michigan State game than any other night game. There were 47 ejections that night, and by comparison, there were 17 during the Cincinnati game and 16 during the Air Force game, both which were noon kickoffs.

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel

Here are some other highlights from the “View from the Press Box” podcast with Manuel:

On Jim Harbaugh saying Michigan will be playing a game on “foreign soil”: “No, we would not (give up a home game). Nothing that’s been finalized. We’ve seen what others have done. We’re always open to the conversation. We’ll see where it goes.”

On new men's basketball coach Juwan Howard: "He’s working at it. He’s been on the road, he’s constantly asking questions of the staff. I know the student-athletes are extremely happy and enjoy him. It’s not that they didn’t enjoy John (Beilein), but Juwan is different in his style. Any time you get that newness, that difference coming in, three or four of them expressed their happiness to me in having Juwan as head coach, and the assistants in place have been great, too.”

On getting the Fab Five back to Michigan: “We talked about it during the interview process. Hopefully this season if they feel they want to come back, we will welcome all of them back.”

On whether Chris Webber will have to apologize to the university: “I’ve never gone there. There are certain fans who feel he does. At this point in time, everything has been dealt with and settled. I don’t need anybody to apologize unless they feel the need to apologize. That’s never come out of my mouth.”

On bumping up the contract for baseball coach Erik Bakich after the team's  national runner-up finish: “We have had conversation and will continue to have conversation about that. With success comes the expectation that we will work to ensure people are in the proper position. A lot of it has to do with the market value. I don’t want to lose him to any place. I was able to keep him here when Stanford made an offer to him. In the end, we’ll look forward and hopefully he’ll continue to be our coach for a long, long time."

On Harbaugh’s call for a one-time transfer, no questions asked: “I’m more and more moving to that. I also feel that we’re getting to a point in this development of young people where we’re allowing people to transfer because it’s difficult, because they’re tough on me, or it’s tougher than I thought it would be or they’re not starting me, they’re telling me I have to work harder to be better. No. We are allowing kids to make decisions about the rest of their lives based on four or five months, based on maybe eight months of a school year where it’s been tough. It is a transition. I came 1,000 miles from home. The first couple days in the dorm room I cried like a baby after practice. I’m tired, I’m worn out, I got my butt kicked all day, I’m 1,000 miles away from home. Not once did I call my parents because had I called my dad or had I talked to my mom and she informed my dad, I would have been thoroughly cursed out because that’s part of life. That’s part of transition.”

On playing for a disciplinarian like Bo Schembechler: “I was accustomed to it. I was accustomed to being told directly at home. I was accustomed to it in high school. My high school coach was very tough, very gruff, very direct, so coming up here and having Bo have that style wasn’t off-putting to me at all. It was the way you got coached. It was the way you lived your life. I don’t believe in dancing around an issue with my team, with my family, with my friends. Sometimes there’s better ways to say it than others — it’s just one of those things, it was a similar style so it was easy for me to transition here. I asked Bo one time about why he came down to New Orleans and recruited me in. He said when he found out my father was a sergeant in the Army, he knew I could handle hist style of coaching because he had success with athletes who had come from that background."

On Bo Schembechler: “He taught the lessons about life that I still live by now. …Bo meant a lot to me as a coach, he means the world to me as a man. I can’t recite Bo’s record, but I can tell more stories about, not only me, but lives that have been changed by him and that’s the mark of what you do.”


Twitter: @chengelis

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