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Posted on Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Dave Brandon wanted '13 Michigan-UConn game played in Meadowlands, but Huskies aren't allowed

By Nick Baumgardner


The Michigan football team's game at Connecticut in 2013 doesn't look like it'll be moving from the 40,000-seat Rentschler Field, according to Dave Brandon.

Melanie Maxwell |

Dave Brandon still doesn't want the Michigan football team to play Connecticut at the relatively cozy Rentschler Field in 2013.

But after several attempts to change the venue, Brandon now says there might not be any other option.

Brandon said Wednesday that he proposed various venue switches to Connecticut and athletic director Warde Manuel, including a possible date at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, but has found that any move might be legally impossible.

"We would prefer to play the game at another place, we've made specific proposals that have what I would consider to be more than compelling financial incentives to move the game," Brandon said. "Life is politics, and my understanding is that in the state of Connecticut, when the state (gave) dollars for that stadium, because it's not a university stadium ... they put in a legislation that UConn could not move a game off or away from that stadium.

"It would literally take some kind of waiver or act from their state legislature to move the game."

The 2013 visit to UConn is part of a home-and-home series signed by former Michigan AD Bill Martin. It began with Michigan beating the Huskies 30-10 in Ann Arbor to open the 2010 campaign, and is set to conclude next season at UConn.

The Huskies' home stadium, Rentschler Field, is an off-campus facility (located in East Hartford, Conn.) that seats roughly 40,000 people -- about 70,000 less than the capacity of Michigan Stadium. Brandon has repeatedly expressed interest in moving the game to a larger venue, but has yet to make any headway.

Brandon said he suggested the Meadowlands, which features the newly constructed MetLife Stadium (home of the New York Jets and Giants) because it was only a two-hour drive from Connecticut's campus in Storrs, Conn. But, again, no go.

“We have a contract to play at Rentschler Field," Manuel told the Hartford Courant in June." And that’s where we’re gonna play”

Presently, Connecticut controls the 2013 home game as part of the contract. Michigan could theoretically buy the game out for a price of $2 million, but Brandon said that's absolutely not an option.

"That's not Michigan," Brandon said. "It's a contract. We agreed to play them, we negotiated the contract, my predecessor did that and I'm not going to come in and screw up (UConn's) schedule and then run around trying to find another game.

"Our solution to the problem is a huge opportunity. And we presented that opportunity and it didn't fly."

Asked whether or not Manuel, who is a Michigan graduate, had any interest in trying to go to the Connecticut state legislature to move the game, Brandon replied that he did not know.

"You gotta talk to Warde," Brandon said. "He's managing his situation there as best he can, I'm sure.

"He understands economics like we all do in this business. He knew (how) compelling the opportunity was, but as I understand it, they're just not in a changeable position."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 7:52 a.m.

'Life is politics." To a large extent yes Mr. Brandon. But every now and then a brave soul stand up at a moment of great import and says 'to heck with it' and does the right thing. This is a trivial matter. But life always gives us turning points that define at the core who we are.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

Suck it up, play the game and move on...or U-M is free Sep 21 & 28, Alabama does not yet have a nailed down 2013 schedule. Schedule a home game against Alabama Sep 21 or 28. Charge a $20.00 premium on top of the ticket to pay the 2M buyout fee.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

The Palace is nearly twice as big as Crisler and its only 50-60 miles away. Why isn't Brandon trying to move as many basketball games as he can there? It would be a "win win" or some such nonsense.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Great analogy. College athletics are not about playing in the biggest arena. It would be great for college football to have um on the Connecticut campus for a game. Similar to what MSU is doing playing at CMU. That game will now be on ESPN where before only BTN would show it.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

"Michigan could theoretically buy the game out for a price of $2 million, but Brandon said that's absolutely not an option." I like this Brandon fella!


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

I like that he is honoring the commitment. It's the right thing to do.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

What if they pay the buyout and schedule a game against Alabama, or another SEC team?


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

I wonder if the gate and (any) TV money received from playing in Storrs will cover the actual costs for Michigan to play the game. On a moralistic level money should not determine the scheduling of college sports games but it is fact that Michigan's football program funds other NCAA championship sports programs and maintains intramural programs for the benefit of University students. The Michigan Athletic Department is self-funded and does not receive financial support from the University's budget or endowment fund as far as I know (except for donations earmarked specifically to support Michigan sports).

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

oh just honor the contract already.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

You really think that's why Missouri was not extended an invitation for B1G membership? Really?

Bleeding Michigan

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

There would be "NO HONOR" in Michigan breaking the contract. There would be intangible damage to the reputation of the University of Michigan Athletic Department in the eyes of future non-conference opponents. If you think that a buy-out would not be remembered, one only has to look at a the Unversity of Missouri football team less that a year before an away game that would have taken place at Iowa City cancelled the first two games of a four game series. --- Move forward to 2010 when the B10 was adding a university to the conference... and where everyone in Columbia, St Louis & Kansas City was positive that Missouri would join Nebraska in the B10... Geographically it would have been a great fit, But the B10 does remember slights and invitation did not happen! Reputation counts even if it means a road game in a 40,000 seat stadia. Also look at the UConn fan that would have to make a 220+ mile game day round trip from Hartford to the Meadowlands plus bridge toll., and then extoll the Great One...Bo who refused to change the start time of a Michigan Homecomming game to Television, and the presidence for Michigan is a done deal


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

Buying out the contract wouldn't be "dishonoring the contract." The contract stipulates that it may be bought out. If Michigan bought it out, it's still honoring the contract.

Theo's Brother

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Uhhh, that's what he's doing. To dishonor the contract would be to buy the game out. Brandon's proposal to move the game to a larger stadium on the east coast is a win-win for both sides. On one hand, Connecticut gets the gate money for a stadium twice its campus stadium's size while having a facility that can accommodate Michigan fans on the Atlantic coast who want to attend the game.