- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
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A little more than a month ago, Michigan fans had no idea who five-year-old Cooper Barton was. He was a regular kid from Oklahoma, who happened to be a Michigan fan.
Barton decided to show his support for the Wolverines at school by sporting a Michigan shirt, which is against the school district's rules.
He was forced by the principal at his elementary school to turn his shirt inside out, an event that caught the attention of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. Brandon not only sent the family a double-sided Michigan shirt but also invited the Bartons to Ann Arbor to watch Michigan take on UMass on Saturday.
The family was given the royal treatment and was even recognized on the field during the game in front of more than 100,000 fans in attendance.
"It has been an amazing experience today," said Cooper's mom, Shannon. "Nothing we could have ever imagined. It's been incredible."
The five-year-old didn't seem nervous about being the center of attention and even said he thinks he could outrun Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in a foot race.
The Bartons have been lifelong Michigan fans, so the experience was overwhelming -- not only because they were able to go out on the field at Michigan Stadium, but also because the event took place because of a personal phone call from Brandon.
"He called us himself. He found out about the incident the day after, or that day, I think," said Cooper's father, Chris. "He called us the following day and we got it all on video. It's one of those things that who would've thought that would ever happen. Dave Brandon is calling your cellphone."
It will be a day the Bartons will never forget, and oddly enough, it all happened because their son broke the rules. He'll surely get a pass this time for not obeying.
4dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
4dAndrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna