Michigan had plans to have a drone (!) deliver the game ball to the field on Saturday.
Michigan is hosting Utah on Saturday at the Big House. It's a huge game for the Wolverines, who have seen their record steadily decline since an 11-win season in 2011 and who were shut out by Notre Dame two weeks ago in their first true test of the season.
But the football game could be the second-most exciting thing happening in Ann Arbor that day. The athletic department has planned a pre-game flyover to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school’s aerospace engineering program complete with a World War II bomber, vintage fighters and a biplane.
It could've been even crazier of a show, though — Michigan had plans to have a drone (!) deliver the game ball to the field, but canceled them after discussing the matter with the FAA. From Bloomberg:
"The FAA promotes voluntary compliance by educating UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws,” the agency said today in an e-mailed statement.
After explaining its rules on drones -- and pointing out that the agency had also approved a temporary flight restriction over the stadium during the game -- the school backed down, FAA said in the statement.
Michigan's attempted use of the drone brought it into the center of the wider political controversy surrounding the increased use of the aircraft for civilian purposes. That's a bit above our paygrade here, but suffice it to say that a drone at a college football game would've made a splash.
If the Wolverines are still looking for alternatives for an eye-popping show on Saturday, fireworks are always a reliable, ostentatious option. Oh wait — nevermind.
- Ben Estes