Western Maryland's trip to Moscow was arranged through International Sports Connection, a Gadsden, Ala.-based company that specializes in matching American college teams with opportunities to play and travel overseas.
According to the ISC's Fred Asbell, Western Maryland is the first of at least seven teams traveling to Europe in 1992 for which it will handle details.
In May, Mercyhurst (Pa.) will go to France and the North Coast Athletic Conference all-stars will head to Moscow. Two members of the State University of New York system, SUNY-Stony Brook and SUNY-Albany, will travel to the Netherlands and Germany, respectively. Albright (Pa.) will get a head start on next season
by playing in France in August.
"We deal mostly with smaller schools," Asbell said. "You ask a big-college program if they're interested, and they say fine, and then ask what percentage of the gate and TV revenue they'll get."
Major-college programs have been playing regular-season games overseas for years. In September 1976, Morgan State lost to Grambling in the inaugural Mirage Bowl in Tokyo. It's now called the Coca-Cola Classic. The Western Athletic Conference sent games to Australia, and at least one Division I game has been played annually in Ireland since 1988.
Western Maryland is making football history, but it isn't the first college sports team from the state to play in Moscow. Johns Hopkins holds that distinction, as the Blue Jays became the first American college to play baseball there in 1988.