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Mirror Lake jump in jeopardy

Ohio State students may have to say goodbye to one of the great “Beat Michigan” week traditions next season.

The Big Ten has announced it will reinstate a permanent bye week during the football season, moving next year’s OSU-Michigan game to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the traditional Mirror Lake jump to Thanksgiving night.

“While the Mirror Lake jump isn’t an official university-sponsored event, we will undoubtedly be looking to see how the new timing will impact the tradition and our ‘Beat Michigan Week’ activities,” said Jim Lynch, director of media relations. “At this point, we just don’t know.”

Students and alumni aren’t just sitting back, however — the Facebook group “SAVE Mirror lake jump 2010 and beyond!!!” has almost 8,200 members, and plenty of solutions.

OSU alumnus Westy Westergaard made the group more than a year ago, before the Big Ten had officially decided to move the game, with the intention of getting the word out. Westergaard has seen the group increase from 600 to 8,000 members.

“Even being an alum, I’m very concerned with the outcome,” Westergaard said. “The Mirror Lake tradition is a college football tradition like no other, and the likes of which seem to be going extinct slowly but surely around the country.”

Westergaard’s suggestion is to move the jump to the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving Day, and he isn’t alone. Polls have been posted on the Facebook page for others to vote on the best day to hold the jump. Options are every night of the week leading up to the game, including Thanksgiving. Though only 57 people have voted so far, Tuesday night is the winner on the polls, with 66 percent of the votes. Thanksgiving night is in second place with 19 percent of the votes.

Others have posted different suggestions on the Facebook page, including OSU alumnus Jeff Grever.

Grever said a Thanksgiving “Beat Michigan” week brings many problems, including a shortened blood drive, limited pep rallies, possible elimination of the Mirror Lake jump, a lack of students on campus for the game and the addition of more football practices instead of extra time spent at home.

“I have been to every game since 2002, and because my wife and I split the four days between our families, I will not be able to continue my streak of attending the games,” Grever said. “This is very disappointing, because I never wanted to miss another OSU-Michigan football game. It has become a big part of my life in the autumn season, and this move will ruin that tradition.”

Grever’s solution is to add another bye week on Thanksgiving weekend and move the OSU-Michigan game to the first weekend in December.

“This would allow the national stage to be as big as ever for ‘The Game,’ and it would allow the Big Ten schools to finish the season at the same time as all the other conferences,” Grever said. “Besides, who wouldn’t want the Michigan game to be on a bitter, cold day where the two teams can show the nation how tough teams in the Big Ten are by playing in freezing temperatures? Maybe we’d even get some games in the snow. Now that’s the stage for the greatest rivalry in all of sports.”

The group continues to add more members each day, and Westergaard hopes that no matter what happens, the jump is preserved.

“It’s an amazing OSU tradition, and it really helps the student body come together and show their spirit and pride,” Westergaard said. “It would be a terrible loss if that tradition is lost.” 

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