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Posted on Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

Cooper Barton, of banned T-shirt fame, attends Michigan game, says he's faster than Denard Robinson

By Ben Freed


Cooper Barton walks on-field at the Big House with his mother Shannon Barton.

Melanie Maxwell |

Cooper Barton, the Oklahoma elementary school student who was forced to turn his “Big House” shirt inside out, was given the royal treatment by the University of Michigan athletic department at Saturday’s football game. Athletic director Dave Brandon pulled out all the stops. After calling Barton personally to invite him to the game and providing tickets, Brandon walked Barton and his family onto the field during the first quarter through two lines of cheerleaders and invited them to join him in his suite on the 50-yard-line.


Cooper Barton holds a mini-press conference during halftime of Saturday's Michigan-UMass game

Ben Freed |

Barton, who attends Wilson Elementary School in Oklahoma City, was all smiles as he soaked in the cheers on the field and as he took in the game from his luxurious seat. Draped in enough Michigan clothing to last him a number of years, barring growth spurts, Barton cheered on the Wolverines with his older brother Nathan. When he came to the press box at half-time, reporters swarmed around the 5-year-old who looked a little overwhelmed as he answered questions with a mass of cameras and recorders surrounding him.

Barton mostly had one-word answers for the media, but he did reveal that Denard Robinson and Usain Bolt have another challenger.

“I think I could beat (Robinson) in a race” Barton said. “Because I’m this fast.”

He proceeded to demonstrate how fast "this" was by rapidly waving his hand back-and-forth in front of his face. Barton added that he enjoyed going out onto the field and seeing himself on the big television screens located above the stands at the stadium.

The interview concluded with a lot of head-nodding and high-fiving.

Barton’s father Chris Barton said the whole experience has been “surreal.”

“When you get 100,000 people cheering for you, it’s just remarkable,” he said. “It’s really actually very humbling.


Cooper Barton and his brother Nathan take in the game from the Athletic Director's box at Michigan Stadium

Ben Freed |

In addition to inviting Barton to enjoy the game, Brandon tasked the M-Den with designing a t-shirt that would show Michigan pride whether it was worn correctly or inside-out after Barton was asked to turn his Michigan shirt inside-out to comply with the school's dress code that banned all college team apparel except of Oklahoma schools.

The Michigan Alumni Association also got in the act, encouraging all Alumni to wear their Michigan gear on August 31 in support of Barton and his Michigan spirit.

The school district has suspended their dress code policy following the negative backlash received from the incident.

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Chuck Badics

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

reading the negative comments about this story i am reminded why i moved out of ann arbor. lighten up ann arborites! it's a fun story and UM gets some positive press by giving a kid and his family a weekend they'll never forget.

Thinking over here

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

I am confused- he chose to a school that has a dress code. You agree to abide by that dress code. SO why is he getting the attention? If I buy a house in a neighborhood with a HOA, can I just flaunt the rules I don't like?


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

How is this story STILL one of the top 5 stories but stories about AAPS disappear usually by the next day????


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

this is so cool.i love it.

Shi Schultz

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Do people honestly think the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN ALTHLETIC DEPT doesn't have money? Really? Come on people, that dept. has had a HUGE hand in building this city. I think they may have just a bit more money than you're led to believe. But I guess with the $22 MILLION dollar scoreboard and marquee they in the process of installing, they may be running a little low.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

I bet the high and mighty administrators at the school in Oklahoma are not enjoying the national egg smeared all over their faces thanks to the lockstep "zero-tolerance" and zero-brain policy they had in place supposedly to control "gang colors" in their pre-schools and kindergartens. I would have thought 20 minutes of quiet time in the corner of the classroom would get those 5 yr olds to drop their shivs and chains.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 8:04 a.m.

Great story. Go Blue!

Steve Coatney

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 3:37 a.m.

Rather amazing to read so many harsh comments. Lighten up people. The cost to treat this family (hardly random, since the kid was treated like crap at school for wearing a Michigan t-shirt) to a bit of attention pales in orders of magnitude to that of sending the band to Dallas, and many sick/underpriviliged kids are taken to the games. As for giving it a rest: sure, Ebenezer. Bah humbug.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

another Michigan winner

Honest Abe

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

Perhaps a sick or under privileged child would like to go to a game, have a "mini" press conference and such.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

undoubtely.what's your point/


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

Everybody's faster than Denard Robinson. We clocked Granma at a 3.8 in the 40 just the other day, admittedly somewhat wind-aided. Readers of are welcome to try this home, too, since Granma's free most afternoons. You'll have to give her lunch.


Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

Can this be put to rest now, sheesh!


Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

How could the athletic department afford to do all of this for some random family in Oklahoma and not afford to send the band to the game against Alabama?


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

the band has what 200 members?this kid didn't bring 200 guests with him did he?

Kyle Mattson

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

GB- Here's a link to Dave Brandon's explanation for the band situation:

Steve McQueen

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

give it a rest...dont be a hater...this is supposed to be a positive story.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

The band went to Dallas so get over it.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

I bet anything it was a booster who paid for it. This is positive national pub for The Brand.