We joked that it was sad that "going to Columbus for a college football game comes with its own travel advisory like the State Department issues for places like the Congo, Burundi and East Timor."
Or at least we thought we were joking.
A number of readers alerted us to the email below which Michigan students received yesterday from university officials. It starts off telling folks about an alumni association pre-game tailgate in Columbus before the game. But the bulk of the letter detailing "safety precautions" for Michigan fans going to the game gives an indication of how bad things have been for Wolverine fans in Columbus in the past. Here's what we're talking about...
We know that it can be uncomfortable being in an opposing team's environment, especially when the stakes are so high. We would like to offer a few suggestions in order to help you stay safe and have a positive experience this weekend:
--Try carpooling to the game; if possible, drive a car with non- Michigan license plates.
--Keep your Michigan gear to a minimum, or wait until you are inside the stadium to display it.
--Stay with a group.
--Know and obey the laws regarding alcohol use.
--If you are of legal age to drink, use alcohol in moderation. Stay in the blue.
--Stay low-key; don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
--If verbally harrassed by opposing fans, don't take the bait.
--Avoid High Street in Columbus.
If at any time you feel unsafe, you should call 9-1-1 for assistance. U-M campus police also will be available in Columbus to support our fans. You may call them with non-emergency concerns at (734) 216-9159.
We look forward to a tremendous game on Saturday. Let's help the Wolverines win with spirit and class.
Sue Eklund, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Steve Grafton, President, Alumni Association
Nicole Stallings, MSA President
Just that school officials thought it was prudent to send this to those travelling to Ohio this weekend is sad. And before OSU fans flood our comments section saying, "It's the same in Ann Arbor for Buckeye fans, blah, blah, blah," let me stop you by saying...
And that doesn't mean ugly behavior by Michigan fans toward OSU fans doesn't happen. I'm sure it does and I'm even more certain Buck fans will leave some examples here today. But to say the violent, often vulgar, atmosphere toward opposing fans is the "same" in A2 as it is in Columbus is absurd. Look, there's crime in Des Moines and crime in Detroit. Yet to claim the levels are "equal" is ludicrous.
Thus, it is my sincere hope instead of simply saying, "It's the same there, too!," Buck fans will instead speak up and try to stop any abusive behavior they see on Saturday...especially if it's happening to me or Benny.
(Thanks to Sarah, David and all the others who sent us this tip)