Athletic Board sets Lamar game

By Dave Tuley

It’s official.

Lamar was approved as the replacement for Miami (Fla.) on the 1987 football schedule at a special meeting of the Athletic Board Wednesday. The game will be played Sept. 12 at Huskie Stadium, giving NIU six home games.

Lamar was 2-9 last season, 0-5 in the Southland Conference. Rush Wood, sports information director at the university in Beaumont, Tex., said Lamar will be a member of the new American South Athletic Conference in the fall.

One board member expressed concern about NIU losing its Division I-A status by playing so many smaller schools. NIU plays Southwest Missouri State, Fullerton State and Lamar this year.

Brigham said the NCAA requires seven Division I-A schools on the schedule. NIU has eight. Akron has been given permission to recruit as a Division I-A institution and will officially receive that classification in June, said Akron Sports Information Director Ken MacDonald. Akron, 7-4 last year under Gerry Faust, is leaving the Ohio Valley Conference next year and going independent.

Brigham also talked about another possible change in the 1987 football schedule. He said he wants to move the Fullerton State game from Sept. 5 to an open date later in the season.

“We want to get it off Labor Day weekend if we can,” Brigham said.

An estimated 11,500 fans saw the Huskies’ home opener against Ball State last season on Labor Day weekend.

Brigham said the NCAA requires a school to average 20,000 spectators a game at least once every four years. NIU averaged 28,587 fans a game in 1986, mostly from the road games at West Virginia, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Brigham said he wants to reach another NCAA goal by averaging 17,000 a game at home next year. The Huskies averaged 14,887 a game at home in 1986.

“We want to establish we can draw here,” he said. “We want to make it (17,000 average) at home instead of going abroad.”