`Home' in the Bahamas appeals to Morgan State

Bears, Bethune-Cookman to play in Conch Bowl

June 01, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Morgan State's football team, virtually homeless with the renovation of Hughes Stadium, had been searching for a place to play its Sept.30 home game with Bethune-Cookman before a bailout emerged.

Option A was to simply play the game at the home of its opponent, in Daytona Beach, Fla., as is the case with this year's Delaware State game. Morgan State officials were pursuing this course when Carlos Mackey offered Option B.

Mackey, who promotes events in the Bahamas, had been looking for a football game since Bethune-Cookman and Morris Brown College played there in 1991. "Passing through" the Bethune campus, he learned Morgan State was looking for a place to play its game.

"It was new and exciting," said Tanya Rush, Morgan State vice president for student affairs, of Mackey's proposal that the school play its game in the islands. "We hadn't been out of the country in quite a while."

Indeed, the last time a Morgan State team had left the country for a football game was in 1976, when it went to Tokyo to play Grambling.

So, not surprisingly, the Bahamas looked like an appealing road trip, and now Morgan State has a game at Nassau's 15,000-seat Thomas Robinson Stadium.

"It's a dream," Mackey said. "We dreamed, and I believe in putting dreams into reality."

In addition to the cultural opportunity, the school saves money, because the Conch Bowl's sponsors are paying both teams' expenses. (It would have cost Morgan about $20,000 to send a travel party of 70 to Daytona Beach for a normal road game.)

For Mackey, it's a chance to re-do an event that didn't go so smoothly the first time, though a crowd of 12,500 did come out to watch. Back in 1991, Bethune-Cookman had to import a scoreboard, goalposts, and field-marking equipment for the game, according to published reports.

Mackey had expected to polish the event the next season, but a proposed game between Florida A&M and Delaware State fell through.

"You have to have the right people and the right timing," said Mackey, who played baseball at FAMU in the late 1950s and spent 11 years working at a hospital in GlennDale, Prince George's County.

Local crews at nationals

Rowing teams from Navy and Loyola will be racing at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships today through Saturday in Camden, N.J.

Navy has boats in all eight races, and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Loyola has boats competing in the varsity pairs and varsity fours with coxswain.

Et cetera

Maryland junior Vanessa Jones, the nation's seventh-best collegian in the high jump, competes tonight in the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships in Durham, N.C. ... Salisbury State senior Sherry Esposito (Westminster) finished ninth in the 800 meters at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships in Naperville, Ill.

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