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!


Touchdown... N…

October 22nd, 2009 at 2:20 PM ^

I always thought it captured the essence of football's importance at the University. Apparently, so did Bo since he decided to hang a picture of a mudbowl player at Schembechler Hall, which is still hanging today.

See you in the Mud. Go Blue.

Block M

October 22nd, 2009 at 2:21 PM ^

My dad told me about the tradition growing up since it had been there since before he was an undergrad and it was one of the things I looked forward to when I went there. The qualifying rounds a couple Saturday's earlier were always a lot of fun and very competitive, and I'm pretty sure the ambulances just worked as shuttles to and from the field that day...These types of things are what makes the college experience special, GO BLUE!


October 22nd, 2009 at 2:30 PM ^

Football. Tradition. Family values (supporting Mott and all). Attractive ladies in mud-based competition.

Is there anything more "Michigan" than the Mud Bowl?


October 22nd, 2009 at 3:39 PM ^

Ah yes, I passed the freshly churned field and thought to myself, "A mud bowl this soon be."

I actually don't talk or think like that, I just wrote it that way to make my thoughts sound more interesting.

For real, though, how do you get the University's permission to basically destroy the grass, and how does it get regrown each year? Is that actually frat property?


October 22nd, 2009 at 4:08 PM ^

It's on SAE property. And it isn't so much a "lawn" as it is a "sinkhole."

When I was at Michigan, the fire department actually helped to flood the field prior to the game. It's a great charity event for a good cause, and is one of the most "community-friendly" things that the Greek system does every year.

Plus, it's a damn good time:


October 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 PM ^

That is fraternity property, so permission is not needed... As for the grass, the yard is f'd but in the spring it regrows anew. No explanation other than it just does, unless we have someone with a better one. But it does make a real nice little bowl/field that you can see when you walk by in the spring/summer/early fall.

mr. arbor

October 22nd, 2009 at 6:15 PM ^

and lived next to it in Park Place Apts for a year... the water that creates the mud is actually absorbed into the ground!! its a crazy concept, but it happens. Actually, you will notice that SAE has had to (at least in past) put sand bags up at certian edges of the field to prevent water run-off. Once the first snow hits and the ground freezes its mud-no-more. melting snow is great for grass regrowth (notice the mud pit is not shaded at all) grass will start growing in May and booms back June - August (if you havent spent summer in AA you dont know what your missing - its actually beautiful).

Anyways... enjoy the mud... boys, wear the tightest most water wicking fabrick you can (under armor is great) and if you wear socks... tape them up!



October 22nd, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

Schollett should have admitted nothing. Were favors exchanged for a Mudbowl bid? Of course. Did some guys take a few liberties with their female guests? Perhaps. Right or wrong, that's how business was done back then.


October 26th, 2009 at 4:43 PM ^

He is a stand-up guy who values integrity and honesty and, most importantly, probably realized that if he tried to get around the question the consequences would have been far worse.

Nice Animal House reference, though.


October 22nd, 2009 at 4:48 PM ^

I'm sports chair of my house (which will of course remain nameless here) and I just got an email from my house mom informing me that there is a rumor flying around that KKG and DeltaPhi have both declined to play this weekend, which happens to coincide with a notice from our international headquarters that we may NOT play in mudbowl. She told me that even though we got eliminated from playoffs, if for whatever reason we were invited to play on Saturday, we would have to decline.

Once again, it's a rumor, but if anyone knows anything else, please correct me.

OMG Shirtless

October 22nd, 2009 at 5:01 PM ^

Fraternity/Sorority Liability Insurance once again ruins all the fun. We used to have to lie to our nationals to even participate in the tournament leading up to the event. (No Mr National dude, this is not the tournament that ends in the No-Holds Barred sure to include at least one trip to the emergency room mud/blood bath, this is just another IM Flag-football tournament) Of course the nationals hated us and have tried everything in their power to disband the chapter for the past 10 years.


October 23rd, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

I'm an old Phi Psi, and I know a good number of us will be out to support the event. Give us a good show tomorrow, play hard, and then we can all go watch Penn State's BCS hopes go down the drain. What a great day!