SBD/September 20, 2013/Colleges

Univ. Of Michigan: Rival School Not Target Of Skywriting Over Spartan Stadium

There were 50 skywriting messages paid for by the Univ. of Michigan
Univ. of Michigan Associate AD/Media & Public Relations Dave Ablauf indicated that East Lansing "was not a target" for skywriters "who wrote 'Go Blue' in the sky at various locations" last Saturday, according to Snyder & Battaglia of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. UM paid OregonAero SkyDancer to write the phrase above Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor prior to the school's home game against Akron. Ablauf said that the company also was "directed to write messages in multiple, nonspecific areas." He said that there were "messages over Jackson and the Detroit area Saturday, in addition to Ann Arbor and East Lansing." Company Owner & Pilot Suzanne Asbury-Oliver said that the school asked them "to hit Lansing." Asbury-Oliver: "Just Lansing -- they didn’t say East Lansing. I think that was mid-morning on Saturday. They wanted our last writing to be right before kickoff for their game, which was noon (in Ann Arbor). So I think we were 10 o’clock or something over there.” Ablauf said that the athletic department "reached out to the MSU athletic department this week to make clear that the skywriting was not intended to be done over Spartan Stadium." Ablauf said that UM spent "about $100 per skywritten message" and had a total of 50 messages. They ranged from "Go Blue" to "804" in honor of the school's career number of wins to a Block M, "Hail," and the targeted uniform number of former players Steve Hutchinson and Jeff Backus. MSU AD Mark Hollis said, “There’s no apology necessary. This is another whimsical episode in a great rivalry" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/20).
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