And what of the Great Michigan in this regard? What role might their "leaders and best" have played in forging an even playing field of racial equality in America?
According to reports from Michigan Radio, Yost had a chance to take a stand in favor of social progress, at a time when it was not popular to do so. Unfortunately, Yost played his cards like any good-old-boy of the time, using his football team to propagate the Jim Crow South in Ann Arbor:
Michigan’s head coach from 1901 to 1926, Fielding H. Yost, had unequaled ambition and ego. But he also had a blind spot: he was a racist.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. His dad fought for the Confederates, after all. But Yost was surprised decades later when his discriminatory decisions created a national controversy.
Trouble arose in 1934, when Yost invited Georgia Tech to play in Ann Arbor.
At that time Southern schools did not allow blacks to play on their teams, or even play teams with black players. So, when a Northern team played a Southern team, it was customary for the Northern team to bench its black players, and the Southern team to bench white players of equal skill.
When Yost made it clear he was going to follow the custom, he was stunned by the national backlash.
Michigan’s president, Alexander Ruthven, given an opportunity to stand up and be counted, chose instead to duck.
UM left the door open for MSU to open doors for minority players, and that's just what happened in Spartan Country.
Michigan was just another school.