by Ward Mullens, Published September 17, 2010
YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University (EMU) athletics is partnering with area elementary schools to create a win-win situation for Eagles football and the community.
The Education First Ticket Stimulus Program provides EMU football tickets to area schools and gives a dollar back to the school for every ticket redeemed at a home game.
"The Education First Ticket Stimulus Program is a collaborative effort designed to give young students the opportunity to experience the excitement of a collegiate environment while, at the same time, supporting the financial needs of school districts in Southeast Michigan," said Derrick Gragg, EMU's athletic director.
Ypsilanti Public Schools Superintendent Dedrick Martin said the EMU ticket stimulus program is a creative way to enjoy an afternoon of collegiate football while supporting local school districts.
"Ypsilanti Public Schools has a longstanding educational partnership with EMU and adding a new twist to the relationship is refreshing," Martin said. "I look forward to taking my family to the game and seeing the Eagles trounce the Chippewas. Go Eagles!"
Scott Schultz, director of athletics marketing at EMU, said that approximately 10,000 tickets had been given away to local schools for the Central Michigan game Sept. 18.
Participating schools include: Willow Run Community Schools, Ypsilanti Public Schools, Lincoln Consolidated Schools, Saline Area Schools, Wyandotte Schools, Romeo Community Schools, Clinton Community Schools, Manchester Community Schools, Plymouth-Canton Schools, Pinckney Community Schools, Adrian Public Schools and Allen Park Public Schools.
The tickets provided to the schools are pre-purchased by corporate sponsors such as the Pepsi Co. Each school district determines how many tickets they want for each game. When the tickets are redeemed at the game, an electronic scanning system reads the bar code and credits the appropriate school.
Schultz said that the schools would get the money before the end of the football season.
"The idea is to help schools where budgets are tight and to help us put fans in the stands," said Schultz.
The program was not implemented for the first EMU home game against Army because area schools had not yet started classes.
Although the season has started, Schultz said that interested schools can still join the program by calling 734.487.5642.