Brian's game recap hints at the mounting frustrations many of us have with the Michigan Stadium experience in 2018. For me, Saturday's game highlighted one glaring issue: The Athletic Department's policies on water bottles in the stadium on hot-weather days.
With a ban on water bottles in the stadium, and a price point of $4.50-5.50 for a bottle of water, the University of Michigan is prioritizing profits over fan safety and health.
After a brutal first quarter baking in the sun on Saturday, I went out to the concourse to grab some water and hit the bathroom. What I saw shocked me. I saw parents holding up their dehydrated kid as he sat over a trash can, puking his guts out. Overheated people were sitting against the columns. Ambulance golf carts whizzed around with sirens blaring. It looked like a disaster film. And that was after one quarter.
There has to be a better, safer way than this.
Prior to 2010, one could bring in a sealed water bottle with no questions asked. For eight years, we have collectively griped about this issue, to no avail. It's time Athletics took action. No one is trying to sneak in a bottle of vodka when it's 90 degrees outside--they're trying not to pass out. There should be better, safer options than expecting the dehydrated to pony up a Lincoln for a water bottle, or wait in a long line to down a cup or two of free Absopure, which can't really be taken into your seat without spilling.
So, a proposal: How about designated water bottle days? 24-48 hours before kickoff, Athletics can announce, based on anticipated weather, that water bottles will be allowed to be taken in to the stadium. Alternately, as is the case with many concerts and public events, and even airport security, empty water bottles could be allowed in the gates, provided they can be shown to be empty. Filling stations already exist outside several bathrooms around the concourse, in addition to water fountains. If I can take an empty Nalgene into a major concert venue, why can't I take one into Michigan Stadium?
It's time the Athletic Department took fan safety into account. Water sales are not making or breaking the bottom line on any given game day. The health and enjoyment of all in the stadium is too important to prioritize a $5 bottle of water over trips to overtaxed Red Cross first aid stations and stays in the hospital.