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A formal challenge to the Big Ten to donate $10k to ChadTough

November 30th, 2016 by Justin Potts

This afternoon, we sent the following letter to the Big Ten Conference, formally challenging them to match our donation with a $10k donation of their own to The ChadTough Foundation. If we get a response, we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, keep donating, keep sharing, keep the conversation alive.


Dear Big Ten Conference,

On behalf of the vast fan base and alumni network of the University of Michigan, we – Justin Potts of Maize and Go Blue, Brad Muckenthaler of Maize & Blue Nation, Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag, and Kerri Cortez – formally challenge you to match our crowdsourced donation to The ChadTough Foundation with a $10,000 donation from the Big Ten Conference.

As you know, The ChadTough Foundation was founded in honor of the grandson of former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, who passed away on November 23, 2015 of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). The Foundation funds research and raises awareness for pediatric cancer. As of 2:30pm Wednesday, our fundraiser is closing in on $23,000 raised.

We were driven to action by what we felt was a lack of accountability on the Big Ten’s part regarding officiating in last Saturday’s Michigan vs. Ohio State football game and hypocrisy in the statement issued to Coach Harbaugh. Instead of raising the money to cover Harbaugh’s fine, we chose a charity near and dear to the hearts of the Michigan family.

The conference publicly reprimanded Coach Harbaugh and fined the university $10,000, stressing the “integrity of competition” in your statement. Yet, at this time, there has not been a statement issued by the conference regarding the quality of officiating on Saturday. It would not be without precedence.

• Just this season, the Big 12 and Mid-American Conference suspended officials for two games for errors in the Central Michigan vs. Oklahoma State game.
• Mr. Delany himself has previously fired officials for “failing to meet Big Ten standards.”
• Incredibly, one of those four, Daniel Capron, served as the Head Referee on Saturday.

Additionally, Kevin Schwartzel, the Back Judge on Saturday’s crew, was previously disallowed from working the Michigan-Ohio State game because he’s a self-proclaimed Ohio State fan.

You are well within your right to fine Coach Harbaugh. But the Big Ten Conference should also be held to the same standards of accountability and “integrity of competition” that it expects from its member coaches and student-athletes. Whether Capron and Schwartzel officiated with bias or not on Saturday, the greatest conference in intercollegiate athletics should hold itself to a higher standard of integrity and transparency.

That is why we are challenging the Big Ten Conference to turn this into a positive. We know the outcome of The Game won’t change. However, we are presenting you an opportunity to appease Michigan fans by matching our donation to a worthy cause within the Michigan family. With $249 million in revenue in 2015 and a $2.6 billion TV deal signed this summer, diverting Harbaugh’s $10,000 fine to a fantastic charitable cause is not only a drop in the bucket of the Big Ten wallet, but also the right thing to do.



  • Deep Judge Official

    This is fantastic. I am a football official (a darn good one too) and entering D-3 this year, I already know I will never work a BIG10 game in my lifetime because of my lifelong fanhood of UM Football, that is called integrity and honoring the game of football that i love so much. I assumed that my colleagues had the same level of integrity but clearly we are not the same. Please do not judge any official until you know the facts as you cannot know the good from the bad just by looking at them and please never harm an official. We have families we love. Most of us do it for the right reasons and surprisingly we get the calls right over 98% of the time. What other not-even-a-job do you know that has such little appreciation and sometimes even anger with such a hugh success rate? …and for peanuts on top of that? That being said, these kids work too hard for officials to not have such integrity and have things like Schwartzel’s assignment go unaccounted for. An official with integrity makes a phone call and declines that assignment and an assignor with integrity respects that (even values that) and switches the assignment with someone else.

  • maizeandgoblue

    Thanks for the comment. I agree with you. My dad has been a high school football official for 30+ years, so I get it. I think — as you hit on — what has most Michigan fans upset is the conflicts of interest among that officiating crew. I don’t understand how the Big Ten allows that in the biggest game of their season (and the biggest game of the college football regular season).