U to reprint football tickets

Tickets for the Nov. 12 football game misspelled Sandy Stephens’ name.

Than Tibbetts

Athletics officials will reprint and distribute the corrected version of a football ticket that misspelled the name of Gophers great Sandy Stephens.

“We’re going to do the right thing,” Athletics Director Joel Maturi said.

Athletics officials apologized to Stephens’ family for the mistake last week.

The ticket for the Nov. 12 game against Michigan State featured Stephens along with current Gophers quarterback Bryan Cupito. Stephens’ last name was misspelled “Stevens.”

Stephens was the first black All-American quarterback and led the Gophers in their only two trips to the Rose Bowl in 1961 and 1962. He passed away in June 2000.

Gregg Shimanski, associate athletics director for external relations, said Stephens’ family has been gracious in accepting his and the University’s apologies for the mistake.

Al Nuness, former Gophers basketball player and University representative to the Big Ten advisory committee on diversity, said it is “incomprehensible” for the University to misspell a prominent athlete’s name.

The athletics department’s officials said they understand how the mistake could touch a nerve among some in the black community. But Maturi said anyone trying to make the misspelling into a racial issue is “sorely mistaken.”

Maturi said the incident was unfortunate and ironic in that it distracted from the athletics department’s intention of recognizing its past greats.

“We have not done as well as we’d like to honor our history,” he said.

Shimanski said the mistake was caught and corrected in other places, including 30,000 posters, but the error on the tickets slipped through.

“I’m the guy who’s ultimately responsible,” he said. “It’s in no way a reflection of Sandy or his family.”

Maturi said the University will spend approximately $5,000 to reprint and distribute the corrected tickets.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.