Big Ten Stadiums: Not Just For Game Day

For some couples a wedding is not complete without the white dress, Pachelbel’s Canon in D and…a kiss at the 50-yard line?

What would a graduation party be without a view of the north end zone?

And if you’re going to bring in a motivational speaker to coach up your office when it comes to teamwork, why not hold it where your favorite coach works and your favorite team plays on Saturday?

For a surprising number of Big Ten fan bases, this is actually possible. Outside of Northwestern and Nebraska, Big Ten football stadiums are fairly accessible outside of football season.

However, that’s not to say that the Wildcats and Cornhuskers won’t ever lay out the welcome mat. At Northwestern, they host several charity events like their Purple Pride Blood Drives. The school’s corporate sponsors occasionally gather there, too. Concerns about protecting their natural grass field prevent much beyond that.

Meanwhile, Nebraska has a facility literally 50 feet from Memorial Stadium called the Nebraska Champions Club that they use to host events. Plus, they are one of several programs that offer free tours of the stadium upon request. (There are obviously restrictions on hours and group size that vary by school.)

Other schools where you can tour the stadium for free include Wisconsin and Penn State. In fact, if you’re a Nittany Lions fan in want of a tour, the man who will set that up for you is former team captain Bob White, now the Beaver Stadium director of clubs and suites.

“We host around 100-120 events a year,” White said. “So we’re using [the stadium] quite a bit.”

Those events run the gamut from proms to career fairs, but nobody is allowed on the field.

That’s fairly common, too. Michigan State keeps party-goers in the Huntington Club. At Iowa, they’ll rent out the suites of the athletics director and the university president. Indiana provides space in the Henke Hall of Champions, which is at the top of the Student-Athlete Development Center overlooking the north end zone, but the field itself is reserved for football.

Elsewhere, the rule is slightly more relaxed. For instance, at Purdue, they’ll let you take wedding photos from the seats or the sidelines. At Illinois, photos of the bridal party actually on the field are part of their $5,000 wedding price tag. Wedding photos on the field are not part of the standard package at Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, but if you’re willing to pay the additional fee, not only can you get down on the field, but mascot Goldy might also show up.

And for $7,000 Michigan fans can indeed get married with a one-hour ceremony on the Block M at the Big House.

This probably makes you wonder what the policy is at Ohio State. Well, Buckeye fans, you can say your I dos at the North Rotunda at Ohio Stadium for $2,500 dollars or at the flag pole for $3,000. Various suites at the Shoe can be rented out for a half or full day. Tours are available, and those will set you back at least $100, more if your group is larger than ten people.

Finally, if you’re a sneaky Michigan fan thinking of holding your “Go Blue” party in the Varsity O room at OSU? You should know the university has posted the following guideline: “Any event considered being potentially harmful to the public image of The Ohio State University will be rejected.”

Penn State’s Bob White will welcome you. He says he’d treat you like any other customer. As for Michigan State? In an e-mailed response, they said, “If the event does not follow the mission of the University, we do not contract the event.”

MORE ON BIG TEN STADIUM AVAILABILITY:

Ohio State
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Nebraska (Champions Club)
Purdue
Wisconsin

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