Terps considering return to Baltimore for football

May 11, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

The University of Maryland is interested in playing football in Baltimore, as early as 1996.

Athletic director Debbie Yow said that she has yet to talk with officials who oversee the operation of Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards, but would do so this summer.

"Internally, we started talking about it a few months ago," Yow said. "Who we would talk to depends on where we're trying to play."

Maryland has played at Memorial Stadium in the past, but Yow said it would also look into playing at Camden Yards, which appears to be an extreme long shot as a site for college football.

"That would be nearly impossible," said Bruce Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority. "That was considered during the NFL expansion process. It could be done, but in order to chop out some seats and put in a football field at Camden Yards, it would cost $1 million. It's hard to justify that for one football game a year."

In an eight-year span from 1984 to 1991, Maryland played seven games at Memorial Stadium, once against Miami and three times each against Clemson and Penn State. Andy Geiger, Yow's predecessor, discontinued games in Baltimore, citing the financial commitment Maryland made in the renovation and expansion of Byrd Stadium, which will be completed this year.

Yow made six home games a priority for Maryland, which she said would allow flexibility regarding a possible date in Baltimore. In 1996, Maryland's tentative home schedule includes Atlantic Coast Conference games against Florida State, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Wake Forest, and nonconference games against Northern Illinois and Alabama-Birmingham.

If Maryland wants to take a game to Memorial Stadium, it would have to work around the Baltimore Football Club and pay rent and for support personnel.

The CFL team approved a Morgan State game against Grambling at the stadium last fall. According to Stephanie Esworthy, an administrative supervisor with the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks who handles football contracts at Memorial Stadium, Morgan State paid the city $10,400 in anticipation of a crowd of 25,000.

"We don't think that hosting a game in Baltimore would cost us any net revenue," Yow said. "When we play basketball at the Baltimore Arena, because of the difference in overhead and the number of student tickets made available, we net more money than when we play at home [Cole Field House]."

Yow, whose interest in bringing a game to Baltimore first was reported by the Terrapin Times, also said that she has had talks with the Washington Redskins concerning their interest in playing or practicing at Byrd Stadium.

"That's not on the front burner right now," Yow said. "Our talks were dependent upon where and when they decide to build a stadium."

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