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U.P. Football All-Star game moved to Aug. 1

MARQUETTE — The U.P. Football All-Star Game has been postponed until Saturday, Aug. 1, according to organizer Todd Golbeck. The game had originally been scheduled for June 27.
    The game, which has been played annually since 2008, is held at the Superior Dome in Marquette and the players stay in the NMU dorms and eat in the NMU cafeteria. NMU recently announced that its campus is shut down through the end of July.
    “Without the use of NMU’s facilities, it is like having to start over from scratch on many of the most important details,” Golbeck said. “Because of that, and the uncertainty of the restrictions that may or may not be in place, we decided to move things ahead one month. That gives us extra time to work out the new logistics, and things are already starting to come together. It also gives us the best chance for restrictions to loosen enough to have the game.
    “I never considered cancelling the game. That would be a last resort and will only happen if the state does not allow us to have it.”
     All-Star Week will begin on Monday, July 27. The players spend a week practicing and preparing for the game on Saturday. They also perform charitable work in the community and get to spend time with other U.P. players who they previously may have known only through competition against each other during high school.
    “It definitely presents a unique set of challenges for us this year,” Goldbeck said. “However, we are determined to do whatever it takes to put on this event and give the players an experience they will never forget. They have been through so much and have had so much taken away from them. I’m certain that the communities throughout the U.P. will rally around these players, and hopefully, it will be something that brings joy and some feeling of normalcy back to everyone. Football in the U.P. tends to do that. It brings people together.”
    The U.P. Football All-Star Game will donate proceeds to Bay Cliff Health Camp, as well as Marquette, Pickford and Iron Mountain schools. A lottery drawing was performed to select the three schools, and donations will be made directly to the football program of those schools chosen.  Each year, new schools will be chosen until all U.P. schools have received a monetary benefit from the game. Several other schools (St. Ignace, Lake Linden-Hubbell, Superior Central and L’Anse) will also receive donations in the form of All-Star Game equipment, which includes the practice jerseys and footballs.