Dave Brandon wanted '13 Michigan-UConn game played in Meadowlands, but Huskies aren't allowed
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
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."