James Franklin: Singular Michigan Stadium Tunnel Is ‘A Problem’

It was a frustrating weekend for Penn State football.

The Nittany Lions traveled to Ann Arbor only to get crushed 41-17 by then-No. 5 Michigan. In the midst of the tense action, James Franklin’s squad got involved in an altercation with the Wolverines in Michigan’s historic Lloyd Carr Tunnel.

Michigan Stadium is unique, as it only has one tunnel through which both teams and media enter and exit the field. It isn’t that wide, either.

Frankie Marzano | Onward State

When both teams enter the field for kickoff, Michigan always goes first, followed by the away team about two minutes later. There aren’t the same precautions at halftime, though.

Penn State headed toward the locker room first, and the Wolverines quickly followed. Both teams got into a fracas while James Franklin was trying to corral his team. He wasn’t too pleased with that.

“The one tunnel is a problem and has been,” Franklin said at his Tuesday press conference. “We need to put a policy in place from a conference perspective. In my mind, that’s going to stop it. We’re not the first team to get into a jawing match in the tunnel. I want to focus on getting my team into the locker room and not jawing back and forth.”

Franklin is right in saying that. A very similar spat in the singular tunnel broke out at halftime between the Wolverines and Ohio State in November 2021 when Michigan beat the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor. The two teams went at each other while the Buckeyes tried to enter their locker room.

Franklin alluded to the idea that the Big House doesn’t need a completely new tunnel built for the away team, but that it would be a good idea if there was a set time for each team to separately head into the tunnel.

“There really should be a policy that the first team goes in, there’s a buffer,” Franklin said. “Something bad is going to happen before we put in the policy. All there has to be is a two-minute or a [one]-minute buffer in between the two teams… To me, under the current structure, we won’t be the last. There is a really easy solution.”

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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