Towson State facing a crucial week Budget forum set for Thursday

October 29, 1990|By John W. Stewart

This could well be the beginning of the week that was for Towson State football.

The school's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee will hold an open forum Thursday to discuss the budget for intercollegiate athletics. Increased interest has been shown because of the possibility the school's football program will be sacked because of budget deficits.

Last week, Dr. John Connolly, IAC chairman, told the school paper, The Towerlight, "If we are to make an informed recommendation to the University Senate, it should be with the benefit of hearing from all those concerned from both internal and external communities."

It is understood the University Senate has meetings scheduled for Nov. 5 and Nov. 19 (the last football game of the season will be Nov. 17) and will vote on the IAC's recommendation. Towson State president Dr. Hoke L. Smith will have the final say, confirming the vote or overriding it.

"Because of the direct impact [several affected] decisions will have on our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university, we want to make available to them every opportunity to voice their opinions," Connolly said.

However, two weeks ago, the IAC said it needed more information on the subject, then voted, 8-1, last Thursday to recommend dropping football. Also on Thursday, football players collected some 1,200 signatures in an attempt to show support for retaining the program.

Other expressions of support are coming from football-playing alumni and parents of the current players. The parents have scheduled a meeting among themselves before Saturday's homecoming game with New Haven. They will meet with Smith after the game.

Before Saturday night's home game against Howard University, players removed the gold 'T' from their helmets, replacing it with the letters STF -- Save Towson Football. In addition, the players wore cloth headbands with the words: "We won't be beat" and "We can't be beat."

The STF symbols also were in evidence on signs along Auburn Drive, the road leading from Osler Drive into the stadium parking lots.

Gary Hatcher, a senior safety and one of the team captains, said: "We had to prove ourselves. We want this program to continue."

Coach Phil Albert said, "It's been quite a week," after his team shut down Howard, 17-7, for its first victory of the season, ending an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season.

"I think the controversy set the players back. Psychologically, it was really hard on them. They needed to look at each other and rally themselves," he said. "I felt there was a change. They took the intensity up a notch. Thursday we had a good practice, and Friday's was super, but I told them that only lasts until kickoff. The best statement they could make was go out and win the game."

The Tigers did that with a 17-point first quarter. Robbie Jackson turned a draw play into a 71-yard touchdown run, getting a key block from center Mike Gunthrop on linebacker Kenny Newsome in a Poly-City alumni confrontation.

Later, Glen Mattfeld kicked a career-best 41-yard field goal and Jarrett Grier bulled his way into the end zone from 2 yards away. Going into the game, Towson State had scored only 14 first-quarter points.

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