After a year with no fans or festivities, the Michigan State-University of Michigan rivalry is returning to East Lansing, just in time for Halloween.
With both teams coming off of a 7-0 undefeated streak, all eyes will be on Spartan Stadium this weekend, including Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff and ESPN’s College Gameday morning shows. To add to an already jam-packed weekend, students will be celebrating Halloween around campus.
So, how is MSU — and the city of East Lansing — preparing for the busy weekend?
MSU and East Lansing police have made fans aware of traffic closures and designated parking areas ahead of Saturday morning.
Fans coming from metro Detroit on I-96 have been advised to exit on Okemos Road to park in shuttle lots and bus to campus.
From the west, commuters on I-96 are asked to exit at Jolly Road and proceed to shuttle parking near Farm Lane.
MSU has also warned that the Trowbridge Road exit from U.S. 127 will likely experience heavy traffic and recommended that visitors take the Kalamazoo Street exit if it’s too congested.
MSU’s normal home game traffic closures should be expected in certain areas of Shaw Lane and Chestnut Road.
East Lansing has warned drivers of potential blockages and backups near highway exits and roads leading to campus. Local drivers who regularly cut through campus have been advised to modify their routes this weekend.
In a statement to the Lansing State Journal, MSUPD public information officer Chris Rozman said that the police recommend that “anyone who isn't coming to campus for football or an academic to avoid campus Saturday.”
Game day festivities and safety
Tailgating opens at 7 a.m., and fans aren’t permitted to arrive any earlier so as to prevent traffic backups near public parking areas. As per MSU’s home game rules, tailgating is allowed in all public parking areas.
Fans have been encouraged to arrive early at Spartan Stadium to beat the lines. Public gates open 90 minutes before kickoff, while student gates will allow fans in starting two hours prior to the game. All parking locations available to fans will be opening at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Beyond logistics, the university is seeking to promote a positive gameday experience for all fans. In notices to students, MSU has encouraged civility and responsibility. Pamphlets in university dining halls urged students to be mindful of alcohol intake and to stick together in groups at parties and tailgates.
An email sent out from the combined MSU and U-M offices of the Dean of Students on Thursday said that MSU and U-M students “all have a role to play in showing fans what it looks like to be part of world-renowned research institutions with dynamic athletic programs.”
The email further asked students to be positive fans, to plan ahead for transportation and designated drivers and to make positive decisions while consuming alcohol.
“Whatever the final score and whether you choose to celebrate Halloween, we maintain high expectations for our communities,” the email, which was signed by both universities’ Deans of Students and Athletic Directors, said.
MSU Police Department and the City of East Lansing have reminded students that Michigan’s amnesty laws will be in place, meaning that if an underage person calls 911 for an alcohol or drug-related emergency, they will be safe from prosecution. Students are encouraged to call 911 or university police tip lines if they see anything unsafe going on.
In a video address posted on MSU social media platforms on Thursday, coach Mel Tucker reminded Spartan fans that “this Saturday afternoon, the college football world revolves around East Lansing, Michigan, and all eyes will be on us.”
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He went on to ask that fans conduct themselves appropriately and act as a positive representation of MSU and its football program.
“Spartans are loud, passionate, and always respect the game,” Tucker said.
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