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Courtesy of Yuka Sato

Today's MI Curious question is especially timely with given that the South Korea winter Olympics are right around the corner.

Why do so many international Olympic figure skaters train in Metro Detroit?

The question came from listener Dan Major of Clinton Township. To find the answer, Stateside went to the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills. 

Ford Field
Brook Ward / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This is the day Detroit makes its pitch for one of two Major League Soccer franchises.

The Motor City bid is led by Dan Gilbert, Tom Gores, and Martha Firestone Ford, who know a thing or two about owning pro sports teams with the Cavaliers, Pistons, and Lions, respectively. And they're proposing Ford Field as the site for the new MLS team.

How strong is Detroit's bid?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Pontiac Silverdome will go out with a bang tomorrow as explosives begin the demolition of the former home of the Detroit Lions.

During its four decades of existence, the Silverdome was the home of Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons. The stadium played host to the Super Bowl, Wrestlemania, mega rock concerts and Pope John Paul II.

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator, joined Stateside today for a roundup of the week’s sports news.

Mike Lantry kicks a field goal against Ohio State in 1973.
Bentley Historical Library

During every University of Michigan football game for the past few years, they’ve honored a veteran, some going back to World War II. But even by those standards, Saturday’s was special.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Dwayne Haskins replaced injured star J.T. Barrett in the third quarter and led No. 8 Ohio State from behind to beat Michigan 31-20 Saturday for the Buckeyes' sixth straight win in the storied rivalry.

  The Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) head to the Big Ten championship game next week to face No. 5 Wisconsin, with hopes of making the College Football Playoff.

  The Wolverines (8-4, 5-4) have lost 13 of 14 to Ohio State, including the last three with coach Jim Harbaugh.

A Healthier Michigan / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When the Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow, they’re continuing a Michigan tradition that goes back further than many of us can remember. How and when did this tradition of Thanksgiving football get started?

Mark Harvey, the state archivist at the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to recount the history of the Thanksgiving game.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Monday night’s Issues & Ale event dove into the complicated world of sports – where players kneel during the national anthem, college students get payoffs, and misinformation swells around concussions and other injuries.

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator, joined Stateside today for a roundup of the week’s sports news.

User Xanteen / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Americans have become obsessed with concussions, and with good reason. But for medical professionals, it’s a double-edged sword: people are interested, but they also have more misinformation.

For example, concussions last only a week or two, while smaller, more frequent hits can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE – but the two are often lumped together.

Cleavers / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside today for a sports roundup. 

Brook Ward / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A plan to build a multi-million dollar soccer stadium in downtown Detroit appears dead.

Billionaire businessmen Tom Gores and Dan Gilbert have struck a deal with the Ford family to use Ford Field for a future Major League Soccer franchise. Gores and Gilbert have been bidding for a future MLS franchise for more than a year. The league is expected to announce its expansion plans next month.

Keith Allison / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

He was one of the most beloved of Detroit's pro athletes before he left.

Now, Justin Verlander is going to be sporting a World Series ring thanks to that trade a couple months ago that sent him to the Houston Astros. The team beat LA in game seven last night to win the series.

A football.
Innovation_School / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today is the day for Stateside’s weekly sports roundup with John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator.

Jim Harbaugh during last week's Penn State game.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

After the Michigan Wolverines lost to Michigan State, they beat Indiana and then traveled to Happy Valley to take on Penn State, looking for a little more redemption.

What a difference a year makes.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

She wants to wrestle with the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s team, but the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) says its rules are clear: “Women wrestle women, men wrestle men in practice and competition. Period.”

Now wrestler Marina Goocher has the ACLU on her side in her fight to compete against the men. That includes staff attorney Bonsitu Kitaba with the ACLU of Michigan.

Justin Verlander winds up in his Tigers jersey
Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's time to talk some sports.

The Lions had a bye week. That means we'll dive straight into college football, and the fact that Michigan State has moved up two places, to Number 16, in the AP Poll, while Michigan dropped out of the AP rankings for the first time since 2015.

Larry Nassar mug shot
Michigan Attorney General's office

A former Michigan State University sports doctor’s sexual assault case will continue as scheduled – despite objections by both the defense and the prosecutors.

Both sides agree Dr. Larry Nassar’s Ingham County trial needs to wait. Nassar will be sentenced on federal child pornography charges soon.

The current schedule has that court date happening the same week as jury selection for sexual assault charges in an Ingham County court.

The prosecutor and defense said that with all the media attention, Nassar wouldn’t be able to get a fair trial with that schedule.

Rosemarie Aquilina is the judge in the Ingham County case. She says there will be over 700 jurors to choose from.

“Those jurors will be told not to listen to the media.  Not to do any homework,” Aquilina said.

Nassar is accused of sexually assaulting multiple young gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment.

Aquilina says that trial will go forward as planned.

A flag with both the University of Michigan and Michigan State
yooperann / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands of football fans are pouring into Ann Arbor for tonight’s face-off between the U of M Wolverines and MSU Spartans.

The long-standing rivalry between the two teams and the game’s later-than-usual 7:30 start time have local officials on guard.

Diane Brown with U of M's Division of Public Safety and Security says the department has a comprehensive security plan in place, “as usual.”

She says at the beginning of each season and each week, the department looks at its plans to see if any adjustments are needed.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame. The two teams play their final game in 2014.
Michigan Football / Facebook

For the first time in their 119-year football rivalry, Michigan and Michigan State football will play at night this Saturday.

The 7:30 kick-off time excites the recruits, the players, and the students. In other words, young people. The night game bothers many older fans, and worries store owners, university officials, and the police.

True, the late starts can bring a new energy to the game, which it did when Michigan hosted Notre Dame in Michigan’s first ever night game, in 2011. After the Wolverines pulled off an amazing 17-point comeback, the crowd stuck around for 30 minutes, just to cheer.

But older fans don’t like getting in their cars after midnight, especially when many have to drive several hours. Everyone else is worried about how fans will behave after a full day of tailgating. Some restaurant owners are prepared to close their doors if things get out of hand, and the police and university leaders of both schools are working to keep that from happening.  

So why risk it? That one’s easy: Money.

Football game at Michigan Stadium at night
Larry / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

At 7:30 on Saturday night, plenty of folks in the state will be fixed on the annual clash between Michigan and Michigan State during the first-ever night game between the two.

NCAA Championship
Dayna / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The FBI calls it a "scheme involving bribery, corruption and fraud.”

That's how agents describe the alleged scheme uncovered by their investigation into NCAA men's college basketball.

FoxNFL / YouTube

Sports and politics entered a tense situation this weekend as the president denounced athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice.

At a rally in Alabama, the president said this to the crowd:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

I’ve always said the two toughest jobs in this state are not governor, mayor of Detroit, or CEO of General Motors, but goalie for the Red Wings and quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, because you can never do enough.

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Lions will play under the Monday night spotlight this evening as they face off against the Giants.

Last week, fans watched the team start the season with a win – amidst errors all over the place.

Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight with coach Jim Harbaugh during last week's game in the AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hang around the Midwest long enough and you’ll hear just about every Big Ten fan say, “I love fall!”

It makes a lot of sense when you experience our famously frigid, gray winters, our non-existent springs, and our surprisingly steamy summers.

But in Big Ten towns, life begins anew not in spring, but in fall— when the students and professors return right on schedule, concerts and shows pack the calendar again, and the whole cycle starts over.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, arms out, protesting a call
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Get out your face paint and foam fingers. It's opening weekend for college football.

Michigan State is hoping to bounce back after finishing with just three wins last year. The program has been under intense scrutiny for off-field problems, including allegations of sexual assault against some former Spartans players.

Justin Verlander's Twitter profile pic on Sept. 1, 2017.
screen grab - Twitter

The Detroit Tigers have two fewer Justins today.

Earlier yesterday, Detroit traded outfielder Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league pitcher Grayson Long and a player to be named later.

Upton, 30, was in his second season in Detroit. This year, he has a .279 batting average, 28 home runs and 94 runs batted in. After the season, he would have been able to opt out of his six-year contract with the Tigers.

The trade, and Upton's subsequent new team photo prompted this Tweet from pitcher Justin Verlander:

Crashmaster007 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Next Idea

I confess that I love football. I played it in high school. Some of my teammates went on to the college gridiron, and one of them even had a long career in the NFL. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Big plays and big money on Sunday. Well apparently things are changing these days, and with good reason.

MSU Coach Jud Heathcote
MSU Athletics

A Michigan State University legend passed away Monday at age 90.

Coach Jud Heathcote led the MSU basketball team from 1976 to 1995, winning the school's first national championship in 1979. Heathcote recruited Earvin "Magic" Johnson in 1977, and he hired current coach Tom Izzo as an assistant in 1983.

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