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Michigan Stadium, nicknamed The Big House, is the football stadium for the University of Michiganmarker in Ann Arbormarker, Michiganmarker. Michigan Stadium has often been called "The Carnegie Hall of all Sports" and is also known as "the House that Yost built." It was built in 1927, at a cost of $950,000 and had an original capacity of 72,000. Before playing football at the stadium, the Wolverines played on Ferry Fieldmarker. Today, Michigan Stadium has an official capacity of 106,201, due to renovations for the 2008 season. The stadium previously had a capacity of 107,501 spectators. The football game attendance often exceeds 111,000 when band members, stadium staff, and others are added. The largest crowd in NCAA college football history was 112,118 on November 22, 2003 for a game against Ohio Statemarker.

Currently the stadium lists as the second largest in the United States, behind Penn Statemarker's Beaver Stadiummarker, due to a reduction of 1,300 seats resulting from a lawsuit filed on behalf of disabled patrons. Notwithstanding the reduction in official seating capacity due to the renovations, Michigan has retained its number one ranking in actual attendance. The former official capacity of 107,501 made The Big House the largest stadium in the United States up until the recent changes. Current renovations are expected to be completed in time for the 2010 football season. These renovations will bring the capacity up to 108,000, once again making it the largest football stadium in the country. It is the fourth largest stadium in the world, and the 31st largest sports venue in general (which includes auto racing and horse racing tracks, among others). There is one "extra seat" in Michigan Stadium "reserved" by former head coach Fielding Yost for the then athletic director Fritz Crisler, although its location is not specified. Home games are invariably sellouts, and residents of Ann Arbor are aware of "football Saturdays" because of the influx of traffic and business at local establishments. The size of the crowd in the stadium nearly matches the city's population of 114,000.

Michigan Stadium was designed with footings to allow the stadium's capacity to be expanded beyond 100,000. According to the University of Michigan Library's and Athletics Department's history of the stadium, then-athletic director Fielding Yost envisioned a day where 150,000 seats would be needed. To keep construction costs low at the time, the decision was made to build a smaller stadium than Yost envisioned but include the footings for future expansion.

Michigan Stadium is also the site of University of Michigan main graduation ceremonies, though renovations in April 2008 led that year's ceremony to be moved to The Diagmarker.

On Thursday, March 5, 2009, The Michigan Daily confirmed rumors that a "Cold War II", A Michigan vs Michigan St. hockey game, would take place at Michigan Stadium on December 11, 2010.

History

Michigan Stadium's size is not entirely apparent to outside observers, as it is constructed partially below grade, leaving only the upper 20 rows (in most sections) visible from the outside. The stadium's original capacity was 72,000, but Yost made certain to install steel footings that could allow for expansion up to 200,000 seats. Initially, all seating consisted of wood bleachers. These were replaced with permanent metal seating in 1949 by Crisler, who had become athletic director. Longtime radio announcer Bob Ufer dubbed Michigan Stadium "The hole that Yost dug, Crisler paid for, Canham carpeted, and Schembechler fills every cotton-pickin' Saturday afternoon." Since 1975 — Bo Schembechler's seventh season as coach — the stadium has held over 100,000 fans for every home game. (The game against Indiana University on October 25, 1975 was the last sub-100,000 attendance home game for Michigan.) Michigan's game versus Ball Statemarker University on November 4, 2006 was the 200th consecutive crowd of over 100,000 fans. Traditionally, when the game's attendance is announced, the public address announcer (historically Howard King) thanks the fans for "being part of the largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America".

On October 1, 1927, Michigan played Ohio Wesleyanmarker in the first game at Michigan Stadium. It was an instant success, and Michigan prevailed easily, 33-0. The new stadium was then formally dedicated three weeks later in a contest against Ohio Statemarker on October 22, 1927. Michigan had spoiled the formal dedication of Ohio Stadiummarker in Columbusmarker just five years earlier, and was victorious again in the contest played for the new dedication, besting the Buckeyes 21-0 before a capacity crowd of 84,401. In 1930, the University installed electronic scoreboards, making the stadium the first in US history to use them to keep the official game time.

From 1927 to 1968, the stadium's field was covered in natural grass. This was replaced with TartanTurf in 1969 to give players better traction. However, this surface was thought to be unforgiving on players' joints, and the stadium returned to natural turf in 1991. This too became problematic, as the field's below-surface location near the water table made it difficult for grass to permanently take root. The field was converted to FieldTurf, an artificial surface designed to give grass-like playing characteristics, in 2003.

Before 1968 the football field had a policy that “No women or children allowed on the field.” Sara Krulwich, now a photojournalist for the New York Times, was the first woman on the field.

On September 9, 2006, attendees of the Michigan Wolverines vs. Central Michigan Chippewas football game had to endure the first weather delay in the Stadium's history, after a lightning strike near the stadium occurred during the first quarter. The game was delayed for approximately one hour.

On March 11, 2008, as part of the settlement terms of a lawsuit filed against the university pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the university announced that the official capacity of the stadium would be reduced to 106,201 to accommodate additional wheelchair-accessible seating beginning with the 2009 season.

Renovation plan

Michigan Stadium, panorama during Michigan - Penn State football game
On June 21, 2007, the University's Board of Regents approved a $226 million renovation and expansion project for Michigan Stadium which is expected to be completed by 2010. The project includes replacement of some bleachers, widening of individual seats, widening of the aisles and installing hand rails, and the addition of a new press box, 83 luxury boxes, 3,200 club seats, raising its total seating capacity from 106,201 to over 108,000. This renovation plan had garnered opposition from students, alumni, and fans around the country, which has since waned with the renovation being mostly externally complete. A disabled-veterans group filed a federal lawsuit against the University on April 17, alleging that the design of the project did not meet federal standards for wheelchair-accessible seating.

In March 2008, the University reached a settlement to drop the lawsuit in exchange for adding more accessible seating in place of current seating during the course of the renovation. As a result of this change, the capacity of the stadium will decrease to an estimated 106,201 seats for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, placing it second in the nation, behind Penn State's Beaver Stadiummarker. Despite this, the first two games of the 2009 season have drawn crowds of over 110,000 people, including fans, employees and band members. Following construction completion in 2010, Michigan Stadium will have a listed capacity of over 108,000.

Multiple webcams are set up on the stadium site that monitors the construction progress of Michigan Stadiumhttp://www.umaec.umich.edu/projects/Stadium/webcam.html

Records

Michigan Stadium's record crowd of 112,118 saw a victory for Michigan over Ohio Statemarker with a score of 35–21. The game was also the 100th anniversary for the Michigan-Ohio State Rivalry game.

In 2004 Michigan set an NCAA record for average attendance at home games, with an average of 111,025 fans.

Michigan Stadium Attendance Records
Rank Attendance Date Game result
1 112,118 Nov. 22, 2003 Michigan 35, Ohio State 21
2 111,726 Sept. 13, 2003 Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0
3 111,609 Oct. 30, 2004 Michigan 45, Michigan State 37 (3OT)
4 111,591 Nov. 19, 2005 Michigan 21, Ohio State 25
5 111,575 Nov. 20, 1999 Michigan 24, Ohio State 17
6 111,571 Nov. 24, 2001 Michigan 20, Ohio State 26
7 111,542 Nov. 2, 2002 Michigan 49, Michigan State 3
8 111,349 Oct. 7, 2006 Michigan 31, Michigan State 13


Images

Image:MichiganStadium.jpg | View from the student section during a game between Michigan and Miami University marker, 2004.Image:MichiganStadiumWinter0001.jpg | Michigan Stadium, winter 2002.Image:MichiganStadiumGraduation0001.jpg | Graduation ceremony at Michigan Stadium, 2003.Image:BigHousePacked.JPG | The stadium filled for a football gameImage:BigHouseSign.JPG | Exterior viewImage:Michigan Stadium south end from street.jpg | South end of the stadium.Image:Michigan Stadium pressbox from street.jpg | Press Box, viewed from the west.Image:Wisconsin Game Panorama 1.JPG | Panorama of the stadium.Image:Bighouse2.JPG | Renovations underway at Michigan StadiumImage:Bighouse3.JPG | Another view of the renovations at Michigan Stadium taken in early JuneImage: Bighouse4.JPG | Renovations are underway

Notes

  1. "Big Ten Football Stadiums", BigTen Online, retrieved 2-14-2008
  2. Stadium info from mgoblue.com
  3. Shamus, Kristen Jordan. “U-M sued to halt stadium upgrades.” Detroit Free Press. 18 Apr 2007: 1B.
  4. www.worldstadiums.com list of 100,000+ capacity stadiums. Accessed January 11, 2006.
  5. What's the real capacity? Accessed November 11, 2006.
  6. "Cost of Liberty Bowl ADA Improvements: $40 million or $4.7 million?", John Branston, The Memphis Flyer, February 19, 2009
  7. The Biggest House Again. Accessed July 13, 2006.
  8. University of Michigan 2008 Graduation (Story and Video) | Michigan Today
  9. "For 200th Straight Game, 100,000 Will Pack Michigan Stadium", by the Associated Press, CSTV.com, Nov. 1, 2006
  10. "FieldTurf receives praise from Carr", Michael Nisson, The Michigan Daily, August 10, 2003
  11. http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/essay-first-woman-on-the-field/
  12. "Michigan: The season", Dave Wharton, Los Angeles Times, p. S-12, January 1, 2007
  13. University of Michigan Expansion Project Press Release
  14. U-M is making a mistake
  15. Suit filed against 'U' for stadium renovation plan
  16. MGoBlue


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