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MEAC/SWAC Challenge Nabs Hampton
The Pirates adjust their football schedule to open the season by playing in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, Fla., on Aug. 31.
Hampton University athletic director Lonza Hardy announced a huge upgrade on Wednesday to the Pirates’ football schedule. The Pirates now will open the 2008 season against defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Jackson State of Mississippi in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
The contest is set for 2 p.m. on Aug. 31 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and will be telecast on ESPN2, Hardy said. The Pirates had been scheduled to open the season on Aug. 30 at home against Division II Virginia Union.
But Hardy said that a little more than three weeks ago, the Pirates were offered the opportunity to represent the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in the annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge because Bethune-Cookman University had withdrawn. Hardy said that Hampton will try to reschedule with Virginia Union if the Richmond school can move onto one of the Pirates’ two open dates: Sept. 27 and Oct. 11.
“This is a great opportunity to get exposure for the program against a SWAC school that won its conference,” Hardy said.
Hampton coach Jerry Holmes added: “This will raise more money for the university and it’s exciting any time the MEAC and SWAC play each other.”
That was true the last time the Pirates played in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The Pirates opened the 2006 season in Birmingham, Ala., by rallying to beat Grambling State 27-26 in overtime.
Hampton (6-5 in 2007) and Jackson State (8-4) will open against each other for the third time in four seasons. The Pirates won the 2004 meeting 38-19 and won 20-7 to open the ‘05 season.
As part of a weekend of activities surrounding the game, former NFL quarterback Doug Williams, a Grambling alum, will be the keynote speaker at an Aug. 29 banquet at Disney.
Jackson State on HU slate
By Marty O’Brien, Daily Press
Hampton, Jackson State to kick off in MEAC/SWAC Challenge
Alan Schmadtke, Orlando Sentinel