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UM, Northwestern establish George Jewett Trophy in honor of 1st Black player at both schools

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Posted at 10:19 AM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 10:20:07-05

(WXYZ) — The University of Michigan and Northwestern University established the first rivalry game trophy that will be named for an African American player in FBS history.

The universities created the George Jewett Trophy, which will go to the winner of the game each time the teams play each other.

Jewett was the first Black man to play football at both Michigan and Northwestern, and as the first Black player in the Big Ten.

He played for Michigan during 1890 and 1982 and was a valedictorian at Ann Arbor High School. He played fullback and halfback, and kicker for Michigan while studying medicine.

Jewett left Michigan for Northwestern in 1893 to finish his medical degree. He played for the Wildcats for two seasons.

After college, he became a doctor in Chicago but returned to Ann Arbor in 1899 and coached at Michigan Agricultural College and Olivet. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 38.

"This is a historic moment in major college football history," Michigan AD Warde Manuel, said in a release. "We are proud to partner with our peer institution, Northwestern, to recognize and honor an African American pioneer in George Jewett. George achieved at a high level as an athlete and doctor. His hard work and effort led to success not only for himself, but for those who would follow a similar path after him. His excellence at two Big Ten institutions as a student, athlete and citizen is something we want our current student-athletes to aspire to during their collegiate experience. The George Jewett Trophy will become a proud celebration of the importance to diversity on our teams, campuses, and in our society."

"This is a deserved and exciting acknowledgment of Dr. George Jewett, a landmark figure for both Northwestern and Michigan," Northwestern interim VP of Athletics and Recreation Janna Blais added. "Beginning this fall, each time Wildcats and Wolverines student-athletes meet on the football field, it will be in celebration of a true pioneer. Every future meeting will stand as an opportunity to educate, communicate and inspire our communities in Dr. Jewett's memory. Those dates also will offer a chance to take stock of the critical work taking place to create cultures defined by justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and excellence on our campuses and beyond."

The first time the trophy will be presented will be Oct. 23, 2021 in Ann Arbor.