The 28th annual Gold Bowl featured Virginia Union University and Bowie State University in a gridiron clash.
Bowie State won the contest, 42-14, but it was more than just a game.
Since its beginning in 1976 as the Bicentennial Bowl, the game has become one of the biggest among historically black colleges and universities. This year, the October 22 event earned another distinction when a wireless network arranged for fans in the stadium to bring their laptops and palm devices to track game stats as each play unfolded.
The idea was a byproduct of a conversation between Jim Junot, sports information director at Virginia Union, and Robert Gray, manager of the information technology center on campus.
"We have a wireless campus. The IT center is in the process of upgrading its wireless service and I happened to get the equipment before the game," said Gray. "We were talking and we thought, why not just connect the whole stadium wireless and post stats and anyone in the world with Internet access can get live updates."
Junot said that although the weather was uncooperative -- the game was a rain-soaked affair -- response to the innovation has been anything but all wet. During the game, not only were fans treated to up-to-the moment statistical information, but also the home team coaches and the television commentators broadcasting the game took advantage of the set up.
Going forward, the school plans to make the same type of wireless network available for all home football, men's and women's basketball, and volleyball contests.
Fans who turned out for Northern Illinois University's 99th edition of homecoming against Eastern Michigan University October 15 surely noticed the dash of purple banding the wrists of not just the football players, but also band members, cheerleaders, dance team members, athletic trainers and coaches.
It would have been hard to miss. The bright splash of color contrasts sharply with the Huskies' school colors of red and black.
The purple wrist bands were part of a collaborative effort between the athletics department and the counseling center at Northern Illinois to increase awareness about interpersonal violence.
"Every year we have mandatory education for our staff, coaches and student-athletes," said Monique Bernoudy, associate director of athletics for CHAMPS/Life Skills and community service at Northern Illinois. "In the past, we've focused on issues such as diversity and nondiscrimination. This year, we're doing education in terms of interpersonal violence, which includes rape and domestic violence. The effort was really to raise awareness in our community."
A public service announcement was broadcast during the football game to draw further attention to the athletics department's efforts.
Beyond wearing the purple wrist bands and the public service announcement broadcast during the game, all 469 Northern Illinois student-athletes are required to participate in an Athletics Continuing Education program training session about interpersonal violence. Coaches and athletics administrations also are required to attend the session.
"Our concept is that we shouldn't ask any more of our student-athletes than what we are willing to do as staff. We thought a strong program would be one in which everyone in the environment is trained so we can step forward together," Bernoudy said.
In the spring, the school plans to incorporate further training on the issue as part of a CHAMPS/Life Skills workshop on health issues.
-- Compiled by Leilana McKindra
15 years ago
Here's what was making NCAA news in November 1990:
Other 10-year anniversary finals: