PDT House Homecoming view
   Alumni Association of the 
   Michigan Alpha Chapter
   Phi Delta Theta
   Sword & Shield
Volume VIII, No. II
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Homecoming Edition
October 8, 2015
Pre-Game Tailgate After Homecoming Open House

All Alums Welcome to Stop by Before Heading into the Stadium

Tom Kelly '82 tailgate
The Homecoming Open House at 1437 Washtenaw will feature hot and cold breakfast foods sure to please alums, but our beverage offerings must comply with the PDT General Headquarter's rules prohibiting alcohol on a Phi Delt-owned residential property (even for consumption by alums).

As a result, Tom Kelly '82 has once again graciously opened up his legendary tailgate in the Blue Lot to Michigan Alpha alums and their guests who have a thirst for a wider range of pre-game beverages or want a full lunch before heading into the Big House.  

The main entrée items include a 150 pound whole hog, beef brisket and ribs that will be expertly barbecued by award-winning pitmaster Phil Wingo from the famed Chicago-based Pork Mafia.  Side dishes will include traditional tailgate favorites.

The Kelly tailgate is not hard to find if you look for the only PDT flag flying proudly in the Blue Lot on the east side of the stadium (about 400 feet north of Gate 1 and the Suite Entrance).  If you want to be extra certain not to miss the festivities, view the web link to a location map.

The tailgate is not sponsored by the Alumni Association, but we are providing this information to alums as a courtesy.  No fraternity funds are being used for, or collected at, the event so alums and their guests who attend are encouraged to contribute directly to the donation box at the tailgate which will pay for all expenses.

James Root '52 Returns to Campus

First Visit to Michigan Stadium & Fraternity in 64 Years

It has been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Brother James Root '52 proved there is truth to the old saying when he loved every minute of his first visit to Michigan Stadium since the 1951 football season (fall semester of his senior year) to watch the Wolverines take on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels.

The trip was particularly special because Brother Root was accompanied by his son, James, Jr., who was raised a Wolverine fan but had never seen the team play in person.  Brother Root also had an enjoyable time catching up with Brother John Buck '54 who was tailgating outside the stadium.

After watching the Wolverines defeat the Rebels, Brother Root visited the chapter house and was given a guided tour by active chapter President William Watkins '17. He thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgic journey commenting, "There have been many changes from my era, but nevertheless all the good memories came flooding back!"

Brother Root is long retired from the working in the chemical industry and lives in Houston, Texas.  He maintains an active lifestyle and is in good health.  

The Alumni Association thanks Brother Root for his loyal donations to the Annual Fund and recent donation of 1950s era photos to our Heritage Project.

At age 86, Brother Root is living proof that Phi Delta Theta is a fraternity for life, and 1437 Washtenaw is still your home on campus.

The Alumni Association is pleased to offer alums advice about visiting Ann Arbor, and can help with facilitating individual or group reunion visits to the chapter house. It is worth noting that the chapter house's doors are locked for security purposes at all times, so the Homecoming Open House is the only time when entry is assured (actives may let you in if they are present at other times). Please feel to contact us by e-mail at pdtumich@gmail.com.

Future of the Mud Bowl Uncertain After 2015 Game

SAE's Charter Loss May End 81 Year Homecoming Tradition

As all Phis know, the Mud Bowl may be location at the "house across the street," but this revered U of M Homecoming tradition was actually established by Michigan Alpha Man E. Reed Low '37 when he took it upon himself to challenge the SAEs to play a spirited game of "touch" football on the morning of Homecoming in 1934.

Although SAE narrowly won the first match, PDT is believed to have won a slight majority of Mud Bowl games (help us fill in the gaps for missing scores) which became famous as one of the greatest fraternity athletic rivalries in the nation for more than six decades.  The PDT vs. SAE Mud Bowl rivalry series ended in 1998 prior to the game that year when Michigan Alpha's charter was suspended by the PDT General Headquarters.

End of the PDT vs. SAE Mud Bowl Rivalry

The suspension of Michigan Alpha led SAE to modify the tradition by choosing their opponent through a tournament open to all U of M fraternities.  The tournament added a charitable focus to the Mud Bowl from entry fees with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the U of M Mott Children's Hospital.  PDT has participated in the tournament, but not made it to the championship in the mud.

While many PDT alums believed SAE should have reestablished the Mud Bowl as a rivalry game when Michigan Alpha's good standing on campus was restored, no one disputed that the addition of charity fundraising through the tournament to benefit Mott Children's Hospital was a worthy change.  Most Michigan Alpha alums were encouraged that the Mud Bowl was able to be continued as a Homecoming tradition even if PDT did not play in the final game.

2015 Mud Bowl on Homecoming Morning

The decision by the SAE national leadership to suspend the charter of the SAE chapter at U of M shortly before the beginning of the 2015 school year has now placed the future of the Mud Bowl is serious jeopardy.  SAE's status on campus has been precarious for years as the chapter was expelled from the U of M Interfraternity Council in 2011 for various policy violations.  This development led to the SAE national putting the chapter on probation.

Despite their efforts to improve the performance of the chapter, SAE was unable to convince the IFC to restore their good standing during a key vote during the 2014-2015 school year.  The PDT representative on the IFC voted in favor of recognizing SAE, so PDT has actually been supportive to helping our traditional rival get back on the right track.  In the end, the SAE national determined that the active chapter had not made enough progress and suspended their charter during late summer of 2015.

The former active members of SAE have publicly declared that they will play the 2015 Mud Bowl on Homecoming morning (kickoff at 11 a.m.) as individuals against a non-fraternity opponent because the IFC has prohibited any IFC recognized organization from participating a non-sanctioned event.  The SAE national has forbid the active chapter members from displaying SAE letters on the chapter house, wearing SAE letters on clothing or doing anything under the name of the fraternity.

Outlook for the Future & Potential PDT Involvement

If the SAE national follows typical procedures for recolonizing a local fraternity chapter, it is possible that SAE will not be recognized by the U of M IFC for the next four to six years.  During this time period, the SAE Alumni Association will likely lease their chapter house to another fraternity or possibly individual student renters if a long-term deal is not reached.  

It is not completely clear yet what this transition means for the Mud Bowl, but it is certain that starting in 2016 the Mud Bowl will not be hosted by SAE.  As a result, the Michigan Alpha Alumni Association has informally reached out to the SAE Alumni Association to begin the process of exploring potential for PDT to continue the Mud Bowl as a fundraiser to benefit Mott Children's Hospital starting in 2016 until SAE is back on campus.  

The long-term goal is our potential proposal would be to reestablish the Mud Bowl as a PDT vs. SAE rivalry game played on Homecoming morning while also continuing to raise funds to benefit Mott Children's Hospital.  We would also likely recommend reforms to enhance the safety of Mud Bowl players and improve the spectator experience.

The initial feedback from the SAE alumni leaders has been mildly encouraging, but they understandably have many other pressing issues to deal with before addressing the future of the Mud Bowl.  Any Michigan Alpha alums with suggestions for continuing or improving the Mud Bowl tradition are welcome to contact the Alumni Association at pdtumich@gmail.com.


Heritage Project Update

Old Photos, Sword & Shield Newsletters and Memorabilia of Michigan Alpha Sought by Alumni Association

10 Year Flashback...Michigan Alpha Membership 2005 ("We're Back!")

30 Year Flashback...Michigan Alpha Membership 1985

Chapter House Fire in December 1971 (submitted by Hal Norton '73)

Michigan Alpha Membership 1965 (Submitted by Pat Hayden '66)

"Old Red Brick Barn" Spring of 1952 (submitted by James Root '52)

Michigan Alpha House Dog "Lord Trevlac von Birkenhof" (3 foot tall, 200 lbs. Great Dane) in the Michigan Daily, February 14, 1952 (submitted by Henry Heil, Jr. '53)

The Alumni Association wishes to thank Dr. Loyal Jodar '49, Henry Heil, Jr. '53, John Jenks '53, Thomas Mericle '54, Charlie Green '58, Dave Hood '63, Mike Harmon '63, Dr. Anthony Petrilli '63, Pat Hayden '66 and Hal Norton '73 for their donations to the Heritage Project during the past year.

If you wish to contribute items to this effort, please contact the Alumni Association at pdtumich@gmail.com.

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Phi Delta Theta Michigan Alpha Active Chapter Web Site