Dairy Farmers in the Final Four? It Could Happen


3/28/2014 11:36 AM

If you’re planning on watching the Michigan-Tennessee tilt tonight (the NCAA men’s basketball championship is currently going on) you may be interested in knowing that your fellow dairy producers in Michigan have been helping the Wolverines win games.

No, farmers haven’t been playing in the games. But Wolverine players have apparently been “fueling up” before games with chocolate milk.

“Who doesn’t like chocolate milk?” said Jon Sanderson, the team’s strength coach, who was interviewed last week for an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The fact that the Wolverines drink lots of chocolate milk isn’t an accident. The team struck a sponsorship deal with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan before the start of the season.

But Sanderson has found chocolate milk to be a big assist in keeping his players in tip-top shape. Both the men's and women's basketball teams guzzle 5 gallons of chocolate milk every week. Sanderson even keeps a stainless-steel dispenser of chocolate milk in the weight room.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, experts at Baylor College of Medicine found that people who consume chocolate milk after a workout had a better workout the next day compared with those who turned to traditional post-exercise drinks such as Gatorade or water.

Chocolate milk is rich in protein and carbohydrates, which helps replenish exhausted muscles after workouts, nutritionists say. The article states that the dairy industry has also made similar deals with NCAA tournament teams Michigan State and Western Michigan.

And if the Wolverines advance to the Final Four, their most likely opponent would be, you guessed it, Michigan State – the state’s land-grant university.

It may be a stretch to say this before tonight’s games, but Michigan dairy farmers could be facing their fellow dairy farmers in this year’s Final Four!

Chris Torres, regional editor

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