Michigan Stadium - Always been alcohol free?

Submitted by davidhm on September 9th, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I have a Domer co-worker in the office that keeps saying U of  M fans are classless due to a U of M fan pouring beer over his then 17-year old brothers head during the 1989 game. I know they don't allow alcohol at the stadium now, but did they back in 1989?  I suspect security was lax at that time compared to today, and it could have been smuggled in.  However, this guy is pretty much stating it was accepted and allowed.  I wasn't in Ann Arbor then and I have no idea.  Part of me wants to believe him, but the other part realizes he is a Domer.

Thanks! Go Blue!



September 9th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

It was certainly not permitted in 1989, but I don't think anybody could argue that security was as tight in 1989 as it is now.  I certainly saw people all over with wineskins, hip flasks, and other alcohol containers.  You could bring in a bag with food/drinks up to the early '90s, I think.  They kept a (relatively) closer eye on the student section compared to the rest of the stadium, too.

James Burrill Angell

September 9th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

I can take you as far back as that fall 1989 and tell you that beer was non served during that season nor any season since at any Michigan sporting event. I've never heard of it ever being served but someone older than I would have to confirm.

I also confirm what Alton says. As a student I would sneak in flasks all the time and even as recently as last year still see people sneak in the occaisional small bottle of alcohol. However, sneaking in a beer in a cup seems unlikely to me.

James Burrill Angell

September 9th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

I can take you as far back as that fall 1989 and tell you that beer was non served during that season nor any season since at any Michigan sporting event. I've never heard of it ever being served but someone older than I would have to confirm.

I also confirm what Alton says. As a student I would sneak in flasks all the time and even as recently as last year still see people sneak in the occaisional small bottle of alcohol. However, sneaking in a beer in a cup seems unlikely to me.


September 9th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

17 is old enough to get a beer dumped on you. most super annoying people on the planet are about 17.

pretty sure they have never sold alcohol there, but let's just say that they didn't used to check backpacks at the gate the way they do now.


September 9th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

If he's saying we're classless because of what one fan did in 1989, then he's not going to be convinced.

A guy with a Minnesota Alumni license plate cut me off when I was 17, so their fan base must all be asshole drivers.

Bando Calrissian

September 9th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

Way back when, it wasn't technically allowed, but it wasn't necessarily stopped, either, as I understand it.  Used to be tradition to pass up bottles from the bottom to the top of the bowl upon completion, with the drink of choice being any number of kinds of Boone's Farm-esque wines.  

Michigan Stadium in 2011 is practically a police state in comparison to what it was even in the not-so-distant past.


September 9th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

Along with the passing of Boone's Farm bottles, my Dad has stories about bringing in whole coolers full of beer in the 70s. Back before the sellout streak, he would go with his buddies for a low profile game and stretch out over a handful of the empty seats around the cooler. So it hasn't always been alcohol free, but I don't know how much it had changed by 1989.


September 9th, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^

Second that.  My dad and his friends used to camp in an end zone with a cooler and a massive amount of space around them.  

At half time they'd be able to get up and move to the other end zone.  These days if you slide one row in the student section you get a SWAT Team on your ass.


September 9th, 2011 at 6:12 PM ^

The crackdown on alcohol started before then - sometime in the early 1990s, I think.  My first game at the stadium was in 1992 and I've never seen any of the stuff that went on in the '70s.   I was a student from 1998-2002.  Things then weren't too different from now, except that students don't throw marshmallows anymore.  (That particular crackdown took place after we went to FieldTurf.)


Blue 8198

September 9th, 2011 at 4:37 PM ^

As an 81 grad, alcohol was definately allowed in the late 70s and early 80s.  As noted elsewhere here, when we ran out, one of our group would leave at halftime and return with a grocery bag full of booze (yes, one could also leave the stadium and return).  As the 80s went on, things changed.  I recall one big change being a prohibition on glass so we had to premix drinks in plastic containers (e.g. vodka in an plastic orange juice bottle).  I'm not sure when the alcohol ban went into effect but maybe right around 1989.


September 9th, 2011 at 8:37 PM ^

Also an 81 grad and I remember basically being able to bring anything into the stadium as long as it wasnt glass.   Which meant pony kegs were fair game and our fraternity took full advantadge of this.  We had a keg set up each and every game and were all too happy to share our libations with females if they wished to partake.

Not terribly sure what happened on the field though.  I hear we had a decent team......

Mi Sooner

September 9th, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

up to the mid 70's in the stadium, and there wasn't any regulations other than you had to be legal to drink whatever was in the cooler.  Canham banned then around 75ish to maximize profit from concession sales -- the stated reason was to clear the aisles and seating areas to allow better movement.

you could also smoke in the stadium, back then also.  i remember an tOSU game back in the early 770's where the couple in front of us were smoking something funny smelling from a pipe -- hey, even i was young once upon a time.  my dad and I got contact buzzes off of the hash they were smoking.


September 9th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

so just curious, while were on the topic how much do they watch for booze now? Last year i'll admit me and my friends smuggled in a pint to drown our sorrows with during the second half of the wisconsin game and didn't get caught, and as much as I would like to say we were "discreet" i'm guessing we weren't


September 9th, 2011 at 2:59 PM ^

Alcohol was not permitted in 1989, but quite a bit of it made its way into the stadium then anyway. I was only in middle school then myself, but we went to games and everyone around had flasks basically. Really, back then, you could have gotten away with quite a bit - an issue of Alumnus last year highlighted a few items that made it into the stadium over the years (in the form of personal accounts - the best one was the live racoon). 

So, yeah, he's a Domer, and if that one experience is what he bases this on, then there's no point in even arguing it  - he will tend to think that regardless, and therefore tend to be wrong. 


September 9th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

While in High School in the '70s I went to my first Michigan game. I clearly remember people bringing in coolers. I was with a chaperoned high school group and I have no idea what was in the coolers. I also saw a guy walk by a case of hot dogs; then when the game started the air was thick with hot dogs being thrown back and forth. It was one of the funniest things I ever saw.


September 9th, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^


My dad's fraternity snuck an entire beer keg into the stadium.  It was "dressed" as an elderly disabled lady in a wheelchair.
We got away with bota bags and plastic flasks.  Which may be why that poor young woman got "passed" over the stadium edge.
Nowadaze you have hydration packs and tetrapak shots.  Where there's a will there's a way, although you just don't see it like you used to.

Bando Calrissian

September 9th, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

There was an incident in the 70s-early 80s where a mannequin of some kind dressed up to convincingly look like a person was passed up the rows to the top of the bowl and ceremoniously dumped over the wall.  Collective gasp from the crowd.  Then someone dressed identically to the mannequin popped up and waved to the cheering masses.

That's about as close it ever got to a real person getting dumped over the wall.

Icehole Woody

September 9th, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

Alcohol has always been in Michigan Stadium.  Before the games were total sell outs students used to bring kegs into the stadium.  I witnessed this several times in the early 70s.

I've witnessed others trying to "sneak" a case of beer in by chucking over the barb wire fence only to land in the barbed wire cradle.


Cock D

September 9th, 2011 at 3:44 PM ^

I used to think that there was beer service.

When I mentioned that to my mother, she said - "no, your father was sneaking in a 12 pack in your brothers' diaper bag".

Other things:

1) used to be a lot of weed burning in there - grew up smelling that.

2) We used to get our family of 4 in on 2 tickets; we had friends near the stadium so mom and bro would go for the first half, dad and me for the second.

The good old days....


September 9th, 2011 at 3:48 PM ^

The high school I went to made us help clean up the Big House after games, and you couldn't take a step without tripping over a bottle of Hot Damn. There used to be quite a bit of drinking, but mostly all smuggled bottles of liquor.

Blue in Seattle

September 9th, 2011 at 8:40 PM ^

My wife is the youngest of seven who had to perform this duty for the school.  She has not quite fond memories of that family tradition.

How they clean the Big House

And I swear that I remember watching a guy walk in during my freshman year (1985) with a case of beer cans on his shoulder while going through the ticket taker turnstile.

then again, we could also order kegs of beer from Blue Front to be delivered to the Mosher Jordan loading dock.  send down the guy with the ID and a bunch of cash.

ahh 1985.  Curse you Chuck Long!


September 9th, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

I can take you back to the 50s when I went with my parents. 

Hip flasks were big. People would bring something to nip to "warm themselves."

In the 70s, when I was a student, wineskins were around. And, of course, in the student section in the late 60s-early 70s, you would occasionally get a whiff of a smoked substance...


September 9th, 2011 at 6:34 PM ^

I remember lots of flasks, and a blue haze from all the marijuana smoke, in the late 70's. With every score, students would pass another girl up, one for each point. With there being games regularly well past 50 points, that could be quite a bit. This occured the entire time I was in AA (from 77 through 83.)

I really dislike the police state mentality, not just at Michigan. Under the guise of "security," everything is limited. For me, the real irritation is not being able to bring in clear, sealed water bottles, or decent sized empty containers (to fill with water.)

Last time I was there, we had a good sized bag of peanuts and a bag of twizzlers, along with water (and a Nikon Digital SLR with a 18-200 zoom.). I wonder if ALL that would now be banned.


September 10th, 2011 at 8:09 AM ^

However . . . I would and will bet a case of beer that any woman at any Michigan game in the Big House, no matter how scantily dressed, will have enough on for the mods (and for me, not that anyone cares.) Consider that a double dog dare, and non-photoshopped pics in each half, in the stands, are needed to prove your point. And btw, lifting a T, dropping trou, or flashing a coat, doesn't count.

Just out of curiosity, when did they ban passing women up the stands?