The University of Michigan's athletics department was responsible for writing "Go Blue" in the sky over state rival Michigan State University's Spartan Stadium while MSU played another team on Saturday.
Earlier this week, David Ablauf, a spokesman for the Michigan athletics department, confirmed that someone in his department had hired a skywriter to canvas southeast Michigan, but he claimed that Michigan State's stadium was not the intended target of the show of school pride.
"We hired the skywriters to canvas southeast Michigan with slogans and numbers prior to our game last Saturday," Ablauf said in a statement, MLive.com reported
. "There were no locations targeted."
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"Go Blue" is the motto for Michigan University's sports teams, with the school's colors being blue and maize.
The canvasing job was carried out by the skywriting company Oregon Aero SkyDancer, which is run by the husband and wife team of Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, who have been skywriting together for 33 years, according to their website
In an interview with MLive.com, Asbury-Oliver said that Saturday's skywriting gig had been the fourth time Michigan athletics had hired her for a job. Asbury-Oliver noted however that this job was the first time she had been hired to spell out letters over East Lansing.
Asbury-Oliver refused to say who specifically ordered the writing at the University of Michigan, and disclose how much it cost.
"It's a multi-thousand-dollar job," Asbury-Oliver told MLive.com. "First, it's $2 per mile for how far we have to take the plane, then the lightweight oil we use (to skywrite) is expensive, and we use about a gallon and a quart each letter. Then for these kinds of jobs you have to throw in hotels and all that."
In addition to angering Spartans and motivating Wolverine fans, the stunt also led to a fundraising effort for the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance.
After seeing "Go Blue" written overhead during the game, Michigan State Alum Scott Wester turned the insult to his old school into a fundraising opportunity, encouraging his fellow Spartan fans online to donate to the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Wester's wife is a two-time Ovarian Cancer survivor.
Describing the act as a "momentary chest beating [that] gives the unfortunate perception of malice," Wester encouraged his fellow Spartan fans to show "what true UofM alumni are all about," and make a donation to the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance, the Lansing State Journal reported
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As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the organization raised $6,835 from 360 donors, according to Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance's Michelle Shepherd, the Lansing State Journal reported.
The two teams are scheduled to play each other this season on Nov. 2.
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