Aug. 20, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University Athletics Director Mark Hollis outlined plans on Thursday, Aug. 20 for a "Celebrate the State" football series, featuring 12 games over 10 seasons (2011-2020) against Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan that includes the Spartans making one road trip each to Mount Pleasant, Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo. Athletic directors from the three in-state Mid-American Conference institutions - Central Michigan's Dave Heeke, Eastern Michigan's Dr. Derrick Gragg and Western Michigan's Kathy Beauregard - joined Hollis for the series announcement in the Spartan Club at Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State will play four games each against the Chippewas, Eagles and Broncos during the 10-year period.
"The state of Michigan is a great place to live," Hollis said. "In the spirit of `Pure Michigan', we strive to `Celebrate the State' with a football series that provides competition on the field while unifying people of our great state.
"Michigan State University and President (Lou Anna) Simon have made great strides to provide opportunities for the state of Michigan that provide economic and other benefits for our State. FRIB, IBM, and our state wide medical school outreach are a few examples. It is with this spirit that we present the `Celebrate the State' series.
"The series provides an opportunity for competitive games, positive celebrations, and economic benefits. Coming off the 2009 NCAA Final Four in Detroit, Michigan State continues to provide positive economic stories for the state of Michigan.
"Competitively, the Big Ten Conferences enjoys its relationship with the Mid-American Conference in football and multiple other sports.
"The series also provides an opportunity for Michigan State fans to celebrate Spartan football at locations across our state (Mount Pleasant, Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti) while maintaining a seven-game home schedule at Spartan Stadium.
"Financially, the series provides a positive for each university with regards to game guarantees, regionalized travel expenses, and keeps revenues within the boundaries of the state of Michigan. The games will also provide a positive economic impact on the state of Michigan from teams and fans that spend dollars in our state with travel, housing, dining, and other activities on game days.
"I am appreciative of the cooperation of CMU, WMU, and EMU for collaborating on a football series that celebrates the state of Michigan."
The Spartans will play Central Michigan in East Lansing during the 2011, 2015 and 2018 seasons, with their first-ever appearance in Kelly/Shorts Stadium scheduled for 2012.
Michigan State will play host to Eastern Michigan during the 2012, 2014 and 2016 seasons and travel to Rynearson Stadium in either 2018 or 2020. It will mark the Spartans' first trip to Ypsilanti since 1899 when EMU was formerly known as Michigan State Normal College.
The Spartans will entertain Western Michigan during the 2013, 2017 and 2019 seasons and play a road game at Waldo Stadium in 2015. It will mark Michigan State's first game in Kalamazoo since playing at Kalamazoo College in 1905.
"Michigan State University is proud of its scheduling, competing in the tough Big Ten Conference," Hollis said. "Our non-conference series with Notre Dame is one of the nation's greatest rivalries and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 10-10 tie in 2016. We have also recently announced home-and-home series with Alabama and West Virginia."
Central Michigan University Athletics Director Dave Heeke:
"Central Michigan University is thrilled with the opportunity to be part of this very special in-state football series. I know that Chippewa fans everywhere will look forward with great anticipation to the Spartans' visit to Mount Pleasant in 2012.
"It is a privilege for Central Michigan to host a game against a program as nationally respected and tradition-rich as Michigan State and it will prove to be an incredible event for not only our football student-athletes, but also our university, our community and our region.
"I congratulate Michigan State University for working with the three in-state MAC schools to develop a creative plan that is beneficial to all parties. Most importantly it is a great economic move for the state of Michigan and shows that all of our great universities can work together.
"I have great respect for Coach Dantonio, Athletics Director Mark Hollis and President Simon for their willingness to structure a series like this. This is terrific for college football in the state of Michigan."
Eastern Michigan University Athletics Director Dr. Derrick Gragg:
"We appreciate the way that Mark Hollis and his staff have worked collaboratively with us during the past few months. This partnership will give us an opportunity to play the Spartans at home in both men's basketball and football. These home games will be exciting for our players, our fans and our University and we look forward to the challenge of competing against Michigan State in these historic ventures."
Western Michigan University Athletics Director Kathy Beauregard:
"The announcement of Michigan State coming to Waldo Stadium in 2015 is one that benefits our fans, our University, the entire Kalamazoo community and the Mid-American Conference. We have hosted a number of high profile teams in the past but having one from within the state of Michigan play the Broncos on our home field is really very exciting. We appreciate all the work put in by MSU's Mark Hollis and the respective athletic departments in order to make this a reality."