Eastern Michigan’s facilities to be used for training, meetings, and practice
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — Professional football is returning to Ypsilanti in 2023. The United States Football League (USFL) will have two franchises – the Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars – practice and utilize facilities on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. The two teams will utilize EMU’s Rynearson Stadium and the Student-Athlete Performance Center for training, meetings, and practice as they prepare to kick-off the USFL’s second season in April. Unless announced, all practices will be closed to the public.
Panthers and Stars players report today, March 16, and training camp at EMU officially opens on March 20. When the 10-week USFL regular season begins April 15, both teams will start on the road before coming to Ford Field on April 30 in the first of nine games of professional football games in downtown Detroit. Fans can go to theUSFL.com for scheduling and ticket information.
The USFL is the first major professional spring football league in nearly 40 years to complete a successful inaugural season and return for a second season. The last league to accomplish this was the 1980s version of the USFL. In 1983, the Panthers made history by defeating the Philadelphia Stars to win the first USFL championship. Now 40 years later, a historic rivalry will be renewed.
“We are very appreciative to the USFL for deciding to make Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw County its home for the 2023 season,” said EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee. “This is a tremendous moment for our community, the University, and our athletic department to partner with the USFL to host the Michigan Panthers and the Philadelphia Stars. Having the opportunity for professional players and coaches to utilize our facilities is a testament to how far we have come as a football program over the last decade. This is a win-win for everyone and I am hopeful that this can become a long-term relationship.”
This is the second time Ypsilanti and Eastern Michigan’s campus has been tabbed as a venue for a professional football franchise. In 1974, the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League (WFL) operated out of Rynearson Stadium.
“The USFL is appreciative of the tremendous support from Eastern Michigan University, our partners in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and across southeast Michigan, and countless other community and sports leaders in Detroit and around the region for bringing the USFL back to the state of Michigan,” said Doug West, USFL Senior Director of Football Operations in Michigan. “This state has a rich tradition of being fanatic about football, and the USFL has come home to Michigan because fans here share our passion to celebrate football as much as we do.”
Last year during the USFL’s inaugural season, all eight teams played regular-season games in Birmingham, Ala. During the playoffs at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, the USFL announced it would expand into more host cities for the 2023 season, as the league incrementally moves teams into their namesake markets until all are playing in front of hometown fans.
On Jan. 26 at Ford Field, the USFL officially announced its return to Michigan. Vowing to be the best value in professional sports, the USFL is making it affordable for families and friends to enjoy high-quality professional football. Fans can purchase individual game tickets for as low as $10. For all nine games at Ford Field in 2023, season tickets start at only $25. Fans can sit in premium club midfield seats all season for only $100 total.
The Panthers’ roster already has some EMU flair on it, with linebacker Terry Myrick (2017-21) and offensive lineman Ka’John Armstrong (2014-18) on the training camp roster. Michigan drafted the USFL rights to tight end Gunnar Oakes (2018-22) in the seventh round of the 2023 USFL College Draft and offensive lineman Sidy Sow (2018-22) in the 10th round.
Meanwhile, the Stars have four Mid-American Conference standouts on its roster while it selected Jose Ramirez (2019-22) in the sixth round of the 2023 USFL College Draft.
When training camp ends on April 8, each USFL team will carry a 40-man active roster plus a 10-man practice squad. NBC Sports and FOX Sports are the league’s official media partners.