December 2, 2021

Michigan considers elimination of Fielding H. Yost’s name from hockey arena

3 min read

A committee commissioned by the University of Michigan president has recommended that the school get rid of Fielding H. Yost’s name from its ice hockey arena, citing a background of racial difficulties involving the former soccer mentor and athletic director.

An 8-person panel of college historians not too long ago created the “unanimous” preliminary advice right after a year-extended assessment of Yost, who labored at Michigan in a superior-profile capability from 1901 to 1941.

The college claims the committee started off hunting into Yost soon after it received requests in 2020 to overview the identify on Yost Ice Arena, 1116 S. Point out Avenue in Ann Arbor.

“Even at that time, Yost’s racist beliefs were being identified Yost’s racist insurance policies had been enacted,” 1 ask for, released in the committee’s ultimate report, study. “In naming the Discipline Home immediately after Yost, the University chose to area just one man’s contributions to football and to athletics earlier mentioned the profoundly deep and damaging influence he experienced on individuals of coloration.”

The 6-site report cited Yost’s “record of upholding the ‘gentleman’s agreement’” to support attract a color line with football at Michigan,” pointing to just a single Black athlete who lettered in football at Michigan from 1901 to 1932. That university student-athlete, Willis Ward of Detroit, was later held out of a recreation by Yost in 1934 adhering to a protest from Georgia Educate, a faculty from the south that was reluctant to perform Michigan with a Black player on the industry.

“While we accept that Yost experienced equally successes and failures in his career, our historical assessment indicates to us that the benching of Ward was not an aberration but instead epitomized a extended sequence of actions that worked versus the integration of sports on campus,” the committee’s report suggests.

That evaluation — an supplemental 36-webpage report — cites critiques from John Behee, who wrote his 1970 doctoral dissertation on Yost, and historians John U. Bacon and Tyrann Steward.

To this day, Yost is the longest-tenured soccer coach in Michigan background, primary the team from 1901 to 1923 and 1925 to 1926. He is finest recognised for his “point a minute” groups from 1901 to 1905, when the Wolverines outscored their opponents 2,821-42 and amassed a 55-1-1 record. Yost compiled a 165-29-10 overall record, an .833 profitable share that still stands as the optimum in college heritage.

He also served as the director of Michigan’s athletic office from 1921 to 1941, a stint that incorporated major the charge in building the iconic Michigan Stadium. In 1923, pursuing a campaign led by the school’s pupil newspaper, The Michigan Every day, the college elected to title its field house right after Yost.

The facility was transformed in 1973 and renamed Yost Ice Arena, the 5,800-seat venue which at this time hosts Michigan men’s ice hockey games.

“When the Regents declared in 1870 that the College was open up to ‘any particular person who possesses the requisite literary and ethical skills,’ they meant to get rid of all barriers to admission based on non-educational history factors and so established a quite high aspiration for the institution,” the committee’s report reads.

“The University has not always fulfilled this aspiration, but in our time, it has firmly and decisively turned down in theory the racist price program of Yost’s time. Component of this rejection must incorporate historical reckoning. This is really hard and controversial operate. But without the need of this reckoning the route forward is obscured.”

Michigan is looking for enter from the campus neighborhood on the suggestion, with responses inspired via June 7. The whole report — with public feed-back — will be submitted to U-M president Mark Schlissel and taken up by Michigan’s Board of Regents, who have remaining say on setting up names.

The report comes just two weeks after an independent evaluation from the WilmerHale regulation business identified that former Michigan soccer coach Bo Schembechler was informed of rampant sexual misconduct involving a previous athletic office health care provider.

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