ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Michigan spring game will be the only football action played under the lights at Michigan Stadium this season.
The news comes with mixed reactions to some but not without serious consideration from the athletic department and new athletic director Warde Manuel. Despite not having any night games this season, especially with a home-heavy schedule for the Wolverines, Manuel did not immediately deny that night games would not be considered in the future, contrary to what he claims was a joking statement.
He comes from the school of Bo Schembechler where all games must be played at noon. So, naturally, Manuel would joke about what time a game would be played.
"It could be that we play more night games in the future," Manuel said. "We talked about it this year as I was coming in and made the decision that this year we wouldn't have a night game here at Michigan Stadium. I was told, because I'm not a Twitter-er, that I was getting heat because I said I didn't like playing games at night. Jokingly said that because if people would've heard the other part of what I said, I played for Bo who thought you should always play at 12, one o'clock.
"In my career as an athletic director and an athletic administrator, I've played a lot of night games. I'm not against them but in the discussions that I've had with many upon walking through the door, it was decided that we didn't want to play a night game here this year."
That athletic director career also saw a home-and-home scheduled with U-M during his time at UCONN. The Wolverines' trip to UCONN was a night game where the Wolverines barely escaped with a victory in primetime.
For now, U-M's home schedule will carry on in the daylight. With Manuel not committing to a timeline for when a night game could be played on the schedule, he did leave the door wide open for future schedules to see a night game appear.
Conversely, Manuel also points to last years schedule for the Wolverines as potentially being too taxing on the players when too many night games appear on the schedule. Especially when they are on the road.
"Whether they will be played in the future, I'm not against them," Manuel said. "I think some of our fans like them and I think I've heard from some of our fans who would prefer day games. I know our fans love Michigan footballl whether its played in the day or at night. They want to see our team have success. Last year we played three night games. I know the fans are interested in night games but that's really taxing. Particularly coming back late at night for the team, those kind of things on the team.
"We considered a lot before we said we wouldn't have a night game this year but in the future there could be night games at Michigan Stadium in the future."