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Posted on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Return of Notre Dame night game means extra police officers patrolling Ann Arbor

By Ryan J. Stanton


The scene outside Michigan Stadium before the Notre Dame night game in September 2011.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Ann Arbor Police Chief John Seto says the public can expect heightened police enforcement for the return of the Notre Dame night game on Saturday.

"With the Notre Dame night game two years ago, after the game it was quite busy because of the atmosphere and the crowd, so we'll keep extra officers out here patrolling," he said.


Fans make their way across the street to the Big House for the Notre Dame night game in 2011.

Ryan J. Stanton |

It's been two years since the University of Michigan held its first-ever night game at Michigan Stadium — also against Notre Dame — in September 2011.

The Wolverines beat the Fighting Irish 35-31 that night, with Denard Robinson throwing a last-minute touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree.

Naturally, that was reason for thousands to celebrate, and it was a festive scene throughout Ann Arbor until the early morning hours the following day.

Local taxicab drivers recall people who were out partying and bar-hopping until 2 a.m. were still downtown trying to hail cabs around 6 a.m.

With kickoff at 8 p.m., instead of noon or 3:30 p.m., a prime-time game at the Big House also allows students and football fans several extra hours to party and tailgate beforehand.

Ann Arbor police issued 94 alcohol-related citations and nine noise violations during pre-game activities for the Notre Dame game in 2011.

After the game ended, Ann Arbor police issued 33 more alcohol-related citations and eight noise violations during nighttime party patrol.


Police make an arrest before the Notre Dame night game in 2011.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Those numbers — 144 citations total — are considerably higher than the averages for the other seven home games in 2011 when just under 50 citations were issued per game.

Broken down, that's 7.4 noise violations and 32.3 alcohol-related citations pre-game, and 3.4 noise violations and 6.7 alcohol-related citations afterward for the other games.

"Since Notre Dame was a night game, pre-game enforcement was for a longer period of time," Seto said. "It began six hours before kickoff when the general time for pre-game enforcement is three hours for a noon kickoff. That's twice as much enforcement time."

Seto said it's possible there might have been different staffing levels for each game. And he said it's important to note the Notre Dame vs. U-M matchup occurs in the early part of the season when celebratory activity is at its highest because of the warmer weather.

Nonetheless, Seto said, he doesn't doubt that a Notre Dame night game brings on more enforcement action.

The University of Michigan Department of Public Safety's game-day detail made 14 arrests, issued seven citations and ejected 23 other people from the stadium when Notre Dame visited in 2011.

There were five arrests for disorderly conduct, three for stealing a golf cart, two for minors in possession of alcohol, one for assault and battery, one for resisting and obstructing police, one for larceny and one for domestic assault. There also were four citations written for having alcohol in the stadium, two for unauthorized entry, and one for possessing somebody else's ID.


Police closed down Main Street before and during the Notre Dame game in 2011.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The other 23 people who had run-ins with university police were ejected from the game for reasons ranging from disorderly conduct to having alcohol in the stadium, urinating in public in the stadium, and throwing projectiles.

As for the city's plan for Saturday, with the game once again starting at 8 p.m., Seto said there will be an appropriate police presence, but he can't disclose specifics about staffing.

"However, I can say the plan is similar to our deployment in 2011," he said. "The only difference that I can add is that due to our efforts this year with monitoring and addressing traffic flow in the neighborhood just west of the Michigan Stadium, additional officers will be patrolling this area."

Seto noted the traffic control plan was slightly different for the Notre Dame night game in 2011, with Main Street shut down in front of the Big House three hours before the game.

This year, the northbound lanes will close three hours before the game, but the southbound lanes will remain open until one hour prior to kickoff.

"There were a lot of preparations two years ago, and there are a lot of preparations this year," Seto said. "So some of the added issues we may experience may be mitigated by some of our planning."


Piles of trash lingered outside Michigan Stadium after football fans made their way inside for the Notre Dame game in 2011.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Seto believes the amount of post-game activity on Saturday will have more to do with the fact that Notre Dame draws a big crowd to town, and less to do with the start time of the game.

"On any Saturday night, whether it's Notre Dame or any other game, there's going to be activities that go until 2 or 3 in the morning, so I'm not sure the late game had that much of an effect on the post-game activity," he said. "I mean, even when we had Notre Dame on the noon and 3:30 p.m. game start times, it was pretty busy afterward."

City Administrator Steve Powers agreed.

"It'll be more just the crowd and the size of the event," he said. "We do have some experience with larger events when Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame come in."

Powers said the city has a plan in place to hit the streets with street sweepers after the game to get rid of trash and litter left behind.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

Kudos to Chief Seto for preparing for the worst case scenario. Ryan, I notice that you only mention the police department's increase in man-power. Does the fire chief/department do anything?

Boo Radley

Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Since there seems to be so much concern over the funding of police overtime, perhaps the U-M could begin adding a large surcharge to the game tickets to pay for police and traffic control, like DTE Music Theater does. Let's see how that goes over.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

I see a few comments hoe the university brings so much to Ann Arbor and that people should not complain about paying taxes to support it. I say UofM should pay it's fair share. This 1% university was just given another $200 Million gift to add to it's pile of money, yet I have to pay for added police and garbage cleanup. All I do is lose services here as my taxes go up. If the university brings so much to Ann Arbor, shouldn't my taxes be less? I wish Coleman would have created a bigger stink about denying our vote about affirmative action when she threatened privatization. Then UofM would have to pay for what it uses instead of a free ride and stealing my money.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

"Coleman . . . . .when she threatened privatization. " I'm pretty sure you're making this up (like much of the rest of your post). U-M President Coleman has never "threatened privatization" of U-M, not just because it would be a bad idea, but because it's not within her powers. (Nor the Regents', and probably not even the Legislature's.)

Bob W

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

I have lived in Ann Arbor since 1968, same house since 1972 and within the parking/walking distance to the stadium. Streets are narrow, we try to get our two cars off the street so others may use the space and avoid the exorbitant parking fees elsewhere. Sure, there are incidents, but by and large, my biggest complaint is hours of flying ads over the stadium, and our house, prior to the game. We have learned to live with that also. This is a major university town, get use to it. It won't kill you. ;o)


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

These are the comment discussions that make me a bit happy that this forum is going away (in its current form anyway). Without the University, Ann Arbor would be Jackson (no offense Jackson) and the small towns around Ann Arbor would be like the small towns around Jackson. If you want to live in or near Jackson and pay less taxes, by all means move there. If when you moved to (or were born in) Ann Arbor it was smaller, cheaper and more like Jackson, it's time to move or stop complaining: you can't have your cake and eat it to. It's sad that that simple premise gives rise to a lot of the anti-University sentiment and that, unfortunately, this forum gives public air to what more appropriately should be curmudgeonly grumblings in one's own living room.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

And that also means that we won't have to hear that "without the U, Ann Arbor would be ________". Plus who will speak for the silent majority now?


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Forgive the crowdsourcing question, please, I was out of town the last time there was a night game: was there, last time, the same kind of amazing downtown "lull" as during afternoon/morning games? Or was downtown packed and crazy?


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Leave it to Ann Arborites to see, "extra police officers" and turn it into a discussion about where the money comes from and how a few extra hours on Saturday will affect the tax payers for decades to come and the officer's retirements. I like the words, "extra police officers" and don't feel a need to complain and make it complicated.

Frustrated in A2

Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

I agree with the both of you. This town is very anti-police for some unknown reason though.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

But if everybody thought as logically as you, these comment sections would not be nearly as much fun!

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

Here's some info from Matt Warba, the city's field operations manager, on what goes into traffic control on game day: "The city provides staff and resources to better facilitate traffic movement pre and post game. A staff of 12 is positioned at key intersections and off ramps at I-94 in an effort to minimize traffic backups on the expressway pre- game by manually controlling the cycle of the signals giving priority to inbound traffic. Post game the focus shifts to giving priority to outbound traffic. Field operations staff are now responsible for erecting traffic detour signs in advance of the U of M's hard closure of Main street pre-game, as well."


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

The comment about overtime hours being figured into the retirement salary begs the question, "Why"? Overtime hours can be substantial and raise the retirement salary by tens of thousands of dollars. If you choose to work overtime, that money should be used to fund an IRA as opposed to feeding off of the taxpayer for years to come. Retirement salary should be based upon the individual's base salary.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

I disagree with your last sentence. It's not unreasonable that your retirement income should reflect the amount of work you put in. If you put in 50 hours/week for 25 years, and I put in 40, why should I be paid the same amount you are? We could, as individuals and employers, plan for legacy costs better, but if your base salary does not reflect the amount of work you do, it shouldn't be used for retirement. This is, of course, completely unrelated to the Notre Dame game. Go Blue.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Perhaps A2 should have a 1% sales tax on all sports memorabilia sales. I seriously doubt it would diminish sales. If you can afford to pay $60+ for a sweatshirt, you can afford the sixty cent tax. The 1% would pale compared to the efforts of the U to rake it in.

DJ Earl

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

Is there a fantasy league for picking the number of MIP's each week?

Wheelz 88

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

You do realize that this game brings in millions of dollars to local business. And yes they do pay for the overtime for the police. If you cant stand the university and what they do you should find a new place to live cause they are not going anywhere.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

But there are property taxes that go to the city, big time. If you don't think that's a factor next time don't complain when the University buys up a bussiness owned by people not in Ann Arbor and then doesn't pay any more taxes on the property. And I have no more facts than you, but I'd guess a whole lot of restaurant and other workers live in Ann Arbor (at the very least as students) and spend their money here.

Basic Bob

Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Downtown businesses who make millions don't pay any extra to the city. There is no city sales or income tax.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

And there it is - The first reply with a clear stat "70-80%" of downtown business are not locally owned. Then a retraction ("I sorta think I saw the stat in an article here, a year or two ago" that supports the "fact" that I asserted). At least he had the guts (I'm guessing here) to admit that he, at the moment at least, had no support for the "fact."

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

I'm going to need to do some digging Ryan. I sorta think I saw the stat in an article here, a year or two ago. @M-Wolverine: There is no income or sales tax in a2. So the city gets little tax revenue for all that activity. And the workers may also not live in A2. And even if they do, they are likely making a tiny wage compared to the huge proceeds from the sales. Perhaps A2 should have a 1% sales tax on all sports memorabilia sales.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

And where do those businesses pay their taxes Nic? And where do the people they employ live?

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

@Nicholas — where do you get that stat from? Almost all of the downtown business owners I know are local, though I'm open to learning something different.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

You do realize that 70-80% of downtown business are not local. They are owned by people who do not live in Ann Arbor.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

"Powers said the city has a plan in place to hit the streets with street sweepers after the game to get rid of trash and litter left behind." Yep, they're on it. Not so much if you want your leaves picked up. Gotta have your priorities!


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

My trees stubbornly refused to drop their leaves according to the city's street sweeping schedule.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Does the University pay for ann arbor to clean up that mess?


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

You opinion has been noted :)


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

In my opinion, one of the best things to ever happen to residential sections of this town was ending bulk leaf pickup. The streets are clearer, look nicer, and there is more room for parking and bicycling. As usual, I'm sure we'll have to agree to disagree on this issue, preferably with a heavy dose of sarcasm on both of our parts.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

"Anything for a buck!" - The University of Michigan

Basic Bob

Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Perhaps the tax assessor should increase taxable value on every business which benefits from football crowds, since that is the only way the city gets any extra money from the games. Oh, and artificially raise property values for people who have parkable lawns. I don't think that works.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

And wherever the owners live (I doubt your stats but that's a different argument), the business in this City pay taxes to this City, either directly as property taxes or indirectly through rent.

Wheelz 88

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Nicholas, so the business's still have to pay taxes. People spending money in ann arbor HELPS the city not hurts it.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

@Wheelz, it looks like a good line, but it isn't true. 70-80% of downtown businesses are owned by people who do not live in Ann Arbor.

Wheelz 88

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Yeah and the local business's make lots of money too but i guess you thats a bad thing to you?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

I once said "anything for a dollar" in a comment here and it was repeatedly removed. I was told it wasn't substantive enough. How many words must one use to describe greed?


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

So why would they schedule a night game if it has all these additional problems? Oh - because they can make money off of it, that's why.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

I was out of town for the last night game. Were there that many additional problems? I don't remember any smoldering fires or weeping elderly when I got back into town that following Sunday. Or are we just talking about Ann Arbor problems, like broken beer pong tables and knocked over garbage cans?

Hugh Giariola

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Prime time ratings, exposure, and money from advertisements.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Because the AD dept ONLY thinks of THEIR profit!

Eduard Copely

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Notre Dame night mean millions for both Universities (franchises) and more debt for ann Arbor. At the rate you UM is devouring real estate, Ann Arbor will need to change its name to UM.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Right - because the University owns all these tax paying businesses that the 100K plus will frequent. Silly.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

The police overtime adds to officers' pay for purposes of calculating future retirement benefits. The cost to taxpayers down the road is huge. Ryan, do you know whether the U pays for city police overtime? And do they pay a proportionate share of retirement benefits? Good FOIA request and future story maybe.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Pick up that tab when the people being policed are primarily University students or participants in University functions, that is.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

That's the best question yet, and the answer is no, there is no consideration of the legacy costs added to the city as a result of increased overtime. We need to keep our streets safe, but UM needs to pick up that tab.

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

The university reimburses the city for the police presence and other staffing provided during game days. I've never heard of the university paying directly toward retirement benefit costs, but you're right, OT can factor into calculating pensions. Here's an investigative piece I had on that last year:


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

There is more partying because there is barely any workload yet... No class last Monday, labs the first week often just intro...


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 10:09 a.m.

Does the city kick in any funds for the extra protection and clean up?


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

The question could easily as be "does the city pay the University for all the business the University brings in on game days?" That, of course, would be an honest part of the questions one would ask if they didn't have a built-in anti-University bias like many here seem to.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

I think the question should be does the University pay for any of this city police overtime.