Media Timeout: Students, visitors warned against taking elevators at MAC schools

Media Timeout: Students, visitors warned against taking elevators at MAC schools

Jay Kenworthy

Allow me to issue a warning to all students and athletes attending Mid-American Conference schools (that's you Ball Staters).

Stay away from the elevators.

This weekend there was elevator trouble on Ball State's campus. One particular elevator in one particular hall took two students on two separate rides between the first and sixth floors of this particular hall. One of these trips lasted nearly two hours.

Is this an isolated incident: a thing that just happens to elevator riders everywhere? Or is this something more?

Flashback with me to Sept. 21 of this year. Twenty-two Bowling Green football players became stuck in a hotel elevator a few hours before their game against Kansas.

The first thing I wonder is: How did they fit 22 players in one elevator? In my elevator experience, I would find it difficult to fit 22 puppies into such a space. These players, though, were mostly offensive lineman, the largest of all football players.

Twenty-two football players are on the field of play at any given time during a game. Imagine folding a football field to the size of an elevator. That is one tight huddle.

According to reports, the weight limit in the elevator was 3,500 pounds, well under the combined weight of the players. College offensive linemen carry, on average, slightly under 300 pounds each.

"We were going up to the fourth floor and we made it to about one and a half and it dropped," said linebacker Mitch Hewitt. "I remember looking at (offensive lineman) Greg Kupke and his eyes were about to pop out of his head."

After about 20 minutes, a maintenance worker came to the players' rescue. The players then took the stairs.

Flashback slightly further to March 1, 2001. Western Michigan women's gymnastics team was sightseeing atop Seattle's Space Needle when an earthquake shook the city from 35 miles away.

Ten team members were stranded on top of the 520-foot structure when the earthquake occurred. The team was not allowed down because the elevator was not safe to use.

"I can't think of a scarier place to be," coach Terry Casperson said. "Once we realized it was an earthquake, terror kind of ripped through you because you have no control over what's going to happen."

The gymnasts huddled together for nearly a half hour as the tower "shook and swayed," while officials corrected the elevator problems. Fortunately, all the gymnasts, including 11 who were not at the Space Needle, escaped injury.

The MAC's elevator reputation, however, is still trying to recover.

MAC schools, heed this warning. Eastern Michigan beware. EMU (Elevator Mishap University) is a prime candidate.

Marshall's Herd should thunder up the stairs until this plague passes. As for me, I'm just staying on the first floor.

Write to Jay at


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