Michigan State club football’s most recent victory has reached “controversial” status.
Last Saturday’s 21-16 victory over the Oakland University Grizzlies, the defending National Club Football Association (NCFA) champions, was protested by the Grizzlies after the game. Then-No. 2 Oakland requested that then-No. 8 Michigan State forfeit the game because of “an Equipment Violation.” However, the NCFA denied the protest, and the Spartans will keep the victory.
The violation in question regarded the dimensions of the field. In a release on the NCFA website, Oakland stated that “the field provided by the host team was not to regulation.” Oakland officials estimated the field to be around 108 yards long, much longer than the usual 100-yard field that has been used for years.
Before the game started, the referees used the first down chains to accurately measure the field, and found it to be the satisfactory 100-yard length.
In addition to the field length, Oakland found issue with the placement of the hashes running down the middle of the field. They felt the hashes were “extremely close to each other,” which “disrupted their game plan.”
In the end, the game was invalid to be forfeited because head referee Joe Abro was not informed that the game was being played under protest.
This protest only adds to the increasing rivalry between Oakland and Michigan State. Much of the Spartan coaching staff once coached at OU. This includes head coach Al Manfroni, who led OU’s first club football team in 2013, and defensive coordinator Chris Pickney, who was the head coach for Oakland’s national championship last year.
The game itself was very chippy, featuring six personal fouls and the ejection of an OU player.
The Spartans are currently on a bye week and have been ranked No. 4 in the latest NCFA coaches’ poll and No. 3 in the league power rankings. Their next game is against No. 9 Wright State University on October 25 at 3:00 PM. That game will be MSU’s final home game of the regular season, played at Hope Sports Complex in Lansing.