Mudbowl, Past and Present

Mudbowl, Past and Present

Submitted by k.o.k.Law on October 21st, 2016 at 7:36 AM

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As one might surmise from my avatar, I have personal experience with the Mudbowl.

This year’s event, 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the corner of Washtenaw and South University, is run by, The Michigan Mud Bowl Club.


The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is a voluntary U-M student organization comprised of former SAE members and non-Greek students alike.”

(from Mlive story here  link fixed)


Over $46,000 of the $50,000 goal for Mott fundraising has already been raised.


From this morning’s email update: Due to inclement weather (and exam schedules) today, the tough call was made to push the 83rd Annual Michigan Mudbowl Play-in Tournament Final 4 out a day... ohhhhh the drama!

Not to fear, however, we will keep you abreast of the action tomorrow and make sure to announce the valiant victors, who will face off against the host Michigan Mudbowl Club Team Saturday 10/22 at 10:30AM.


Follow the Mudbowl:


Get Dirty, Help Kids! #Mud4Mott

Facebook -
Twitter- @MichiganMudbowl


As for back in the day, as I preface most of my UM stories “Remember, the drinking age was 18.”

The Sunday before the Mudbowl, the pledges would dig up the entire playing surface, in effect plowing it with shovels, metal rakes, et al, to make it more receptive to the vast quantities of liquid to follow.

The year I played was the last year before the city figured out there was a meter cheater in use, and retroactively hit SAE with a $500 water bill.

Hoses were hooked up immediately upon completion of the bowl plowing, and run continuously from the Sunday evening before until early the morning of the game.

The movie Jaws was out that year, and one of the brothers fashioned a gigantic black piece of plywood into a dorsal fin shape, and plunked it down in the middle of the, lake.

The picture made the front page of the Ann Arbor News, above the fold.

It was unseasonably warm the Friday before the game, so we had a game in the flooded field that afternoon.







The bowl gets deeper, and wider, as you get away from the Washtenaw end towards the apartment buildings in that far end zone.

There is a drain in that corner of what would be the endzone, in the corner by the SAE house and the apartment building.

It was necessary to pull the plug to drain the water to make the field playable. A suitable inebriated brother would volunteer to dive around, Saturday morning, still in the dark until he could pull up the plug and the water would have time to, mostly, drain by kickoff.

As the host and owners of the real estate, SAE made the rules.

We always played the Phi Delts, from across the street.

However, the real crowd attraction was the halftime soccer game between the sororities chosen by, the brothers of SAE.







Considerations of comity prevailed, and our next door neighbor Thetas somehow always were selected.

The other sororities competed for our attentions in their efforts to win the honor of participating.

The Kappas actually obtained permission from their national HQ to host a keg party for us. At the conclusion of said party, a usable amount of beverage remained, so we hauled the keg back to the SAE house in order not to have any of the contents wasted.

We thought we were clever in buying our own T-shirts. In subsequent years, the brothers were smart enough to hold up the local Budweiser distributorship, getting them to pay for shirts for all four teams, and, buy beer for the house, among other things.

When Budweiser finally balked at the price, Miller stepped in.

The year after I played, the game was referred by two former SAEs. Who gave us five downs in our last possession, and we still lost.

Of course, every SAE wanted to play. We fielded two touch football teams in the IM league, and had several scholarship athletes, and about 30 members.

The house met and decided who would play, and how many quarters.

I was a blocking back, and split that position with the house president, being allotted two quarters each.

As I was working my way through school partly by hustling football tickets, he agreed to let me play the first half, and he the second, so that I could clean up and get to the Big House to sell the rest of my tickets.

Some years ago, apparently the sororities prohibited participation as too dangerous. Liability and lawyers and no insurance, whatever.

So no more halftime games for the girls.

And, no more beer sponsors.

Carl Grapentine even announced the Mudbowl result during the game.

Ahhh, the good old days.

Truth be told, making it a charity fundraising event is a cosmic improvement, and this year’s event is the best ever.

John U. Bacon mentions the Mudbowl in, I think Fourth and Long, and that every UM player he ever talked to wished he could have played in it.

It was fun.

Campus Tradition: Mudbowl This Saturday @ 11:30

Campus Tradition: Mudbowl This Saturday @ 11:30

Submitted by Michiganguy19 on October 22nd, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Over 75 years ago the Mudbowl game, as legend has it, started as an impromptu mud football game between SAE and Phi Delt on Homecoming weekend at the corner of South University and Washtenaw. As the years have gone by the game has become a campus tradition that now spans over 75 years.

The game itself is a relic of campus traditions of yore, so many of which have been stifled by the University, the city of Ann Arbor (the firemen used to come open the hydrants and supply hoses for the brothers to fill the bowl, now they have to pay for 100,000 gallons of water to be delivered), or have not had the fortune to be organized regularly.

The game is typically held on Homecoming weekend and traditionally involved SAE and Phi Delt playing until exhaustion in a no rules game of tackle football (until Phi Delt lost it’s charter in 1998). The annual charity event today involves SAE and the winner of the fraternity tournament, with two sororities playing their own football game at halftime (up and through the 90s, the sororities played a weird muddy rugby-like game that did not involve a football).

However, this year with an early homecoming date and so many home football weekends, it was impossible to hold the tournament in the midst of fraternity and sorority rush… so, the game is this Saturday, kicking off at 11:30am (in the SAE lawn @ South U. and Washtenaw).

Info from Mvictors notes that the sororities playing will be Kappa Kappa Gamma v. a combination of Alpha Phi+TriDelt (co-team resulting apparently from a panhel punishment). I can only note that this is not the only time that the Mudbowl has been involved in sorority scandal (Chi-O bribed their way into the event in 1993 with pizza/champagne/and a stripper&apparently Theta failed with their bid - a Keg of beer).

The fraternity event will see SAE play the winner of tonight’s fraternity final tonight between Phi Psi and Fiji.
So, if you are going to be in town for the game this weekend, you can hopefully see several great football games… the Mudbowl is a charity event for Mott’s, so if you do come, find one of the people taking donations.

I know that during my years at Michigan, the Mudbowl was my favorite day of the fall semester and I constantly meet people that learn I was an SAE at Michigan and talk to me about their Mudbowl memories...

Phi Alpha to all that attend, and go Blue!

Mudbowl playoffs today

Mudbowl playoffs today

Submitted by CleverMichigan… on October 11th, 2009 at 10:00 AM

If by chance anyone's in the Ann Arbor area and feels like watching Michigan greeks beat each other up, play flag football, play a blood sport that vaguely resembles football (to benefit Mott Children's
Hospital and the M Stars for the Make a Wish Foundation), the tournament starts at 1 at Father Gabriel Richard High School (4333 Whitehall Dr.) Winners play in the actual mudbowl the morning of the PSU game.