SRU students are encouraged by the university to travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to watch the Slippery Rock Pride play the Mercyhurst Lakers in a Big House Battle on Saturday, Oct. 18 not only to experience the game, but to be a part of SRU’s history.
“What an opportunity to be a part of history,” Rita Abent, Executive Director for University Public Relations, said. “You know it’s part of our 125. We’ve looked at this. This is actually the 35 anniversary of the first time that we’ve played in Michigan Stadium.”
Abent said any events where alumni come back to the university, they will talk about their time going to Michigan Stadium. She said many alumni plan to make this trip to Michigan Stadium as well to replicate that experience that they had 35 years ago.
“The students should go to the game in Michigan to mark a historic time in Division II football history by setting the single game attendance record, which is currently 61,143 people, set by SRU in 1979,” Coach George Mihalik said. “Along with the attendance record, we can show the state of Michigan what the ‘Rock Rowdies’ Student Section is all about!”
Mihalik said Michigan Stadium is the biggest college football venue in the country.
“This game embarks on a journey which this great university traveled on years ago. It is a time to commerate our school’s ‘stately grace and beauty’ in front of thousands of people,” Mihalik said.
“It is in many ways such a unique opportunity,” Abent said. “Division II schools don’t normally get to go and play in facilities of this nation or get to play in front of a crowd that’s kind of adopted you and you know the University of Michigan fans for 35 years plus have adopted Slippery Rock University and our scores are announced there and they cheer for us and they buy our Slippery Rock University merchandise and last year they did a whole eight page tab in their student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, about the university and it’s kind of nice to have an institution of that kind of prestige kind of be your big brother.”
Abent hopes the current students latch onto significance of this game and reminisce on their experiences at Michigan Stadium just like the alumni who went to the game the first time do today.
“The fact that we now have seven buses that are being provided for students to go to the game and we certainly would encourage any student who wants to go to the game to get a seat on that bus and put their $5 down to reserve their seat,” President Cheryl Norton said. “They’ll get their $5 back as they are actually sitting on the bus, so it’s not going to cost anything.”
Norton explained that the buses will depart early Saturday morning. Students will get to enjoy the game at Michigan Stadium after a bus ride a little over four hours and will return later Saturday evening. She hopes students can squeeze this important event into their busy lives and come out and support the team.
“You won’t have to guess where these buses are going when you’re going down the highway,” Abent said.
Norton said it would be a mistake for students to think that they are going to get to do this next year because this isn’t going to happen next year.
“Borrow the $5 from your parents, get your green and white laid out,” Norton said. “It should be a really fun trip. There will be a pep rally and we just have never done anything like this in our lifetime and it won’t happen again in our lifetimes, so take advantage of it.”
“While it’s just a football game, it’s not really just a football game,” Abent said. “I think for the university it really is one of the capstone events for our 125 celebration.”
Abent said students need to be thinking about whether they want to go to the game or not over the fall break because after the break is over, the game is only four days away.
Abent discussed how this game could potentially go viral. She said that all the major broadcasting companies in Detroit may have spaces that need filled and be active at the game.
Students can reserve their seat on the bus for $5 at the SGA Bookstore. Students with meal plans will be provided food from AVI for the trip as well.