Michigan is removing 45 seats near the Michigan Stadium tunnel to create a wider area for players, coaches and others to safely pass through on game days, an athletic department spokesman told ESPN on Monday.
The seats are all portable, and ticket holders, who have been informed of the change, will be located to a different area of the stadium. The adjustment comes in response to an incident in the Michigan-Michigan State game from last season, in which a fan reached into the tunnel passage and touched Michigan State coach Mel Tucker’s head as he passed through. Tucker swiped back and pointed toward the fan, who reportedly was later identified and banned from attending games.
Michigan State and Michigan players were involved in a fight inside the stadium tunnel after the game, which led to criminal charges and suspensions for MSU players, but the seat removal is not related to that incident.
The seats being removed are at the base of the tunnel and created a funnel when large groups tried to pass through. Michigan is adding to its standing room area, and the stadium capacity will remain unchanged at 107,601.
After the Michigan-Michigan State game, the Big Ten imposed a $100,000 fine for Michigan State and a reprimand for Michigan, stating the school failed to provide “adequate protection for personnel of both home and visiting teams when entering and leaving playing arenas.”
MLive first reported news of the school’s decision.