The snowstorm of the century (according to news reports) has hit the eastern half of the United States, and here in Ann Arbor we are fortunate that we didn't receive the full brunt of the storm. We had the high winds and cold weather, but the snow accumulation was around half a foot, much less that many areas in the storm's path.
Living in Michigan, we are familiar with the inclement weather that plays a role in everyone's life, so we have plans in place for when the weather hits, and today in Ann Arbor those plans worked well.
This is a long way from the days when the athletic department had fewer staff, fewer teams and a smaller budget.
In the mid 1960s, a snowstorm hit Ann Arbor late in the football season. Fritz Crisler and Bump Elliott mobilized the student-athletes to shovel out Michigan Stadium and clean the surrounding area to make sure the game could be played.
In the early 1970s, another winter snowstorm hit and the Indiana-Michigan basketball game at Crisler Arena had to be moved back a day or so. The Hoosiers and coach Bob Knight were in town, but we could not get our fans safely to Crisler.
Today, we have more staff. We also have more teams and more ancillary issues (e.g., television). Fortunately, we do not have any scheduled events for tonight, but that didn't lessen the concerns as the storm approached.
Travel plans for the men's basketball and gymnastics teams plus a real concern for the Penn State women's basketball team to make it here safely from Happy Valley for Thursday night's game at Crisler Arena weighed heavily on our staff.
The men's basketball team was scheduled to bus to Columbus, Ohio, this evening. Instead the team left Tuesday night for tomorrow's televised game at Ohio State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Tomorrow's important women's basketball game at Crisler Arena (7 p.m. ET, BigTenNetwork.com) was also worrisome. Penn State was planning to arrive in Ann Arbor tonight. At the last minute, the PSU administration found a Tuesday evening flight, and the team is now awaiting Thursday night's game in an Ann Arbor hotel.
Fortunately, the "Snowmageddon" turned out to be a minor inconvenience in our area, and both basketball games will be played with few if any problems.
But the plans were in place just in case. And this time, we did not have to marshal any student-athletes to clean any stadiums.