More Than Just a Game: Sports in American Life since 1945

By Kathryn Jay | Go to book overview

4. Making Sense of the Sixties

January 1, 1964: The top-ranked University of Texas -J Longhorns faced the number two Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy in college football's Cotton Bowl. Navy's star quarterback Roger Staubach threw for 228 yards, but the Longhorns dominated from the start, winning the contest 28 to 6 and finishing their season a perfect 11-0. On the same day, coach Bear Bryant's Alabama team kicked four field goals to hold off Ole Miss 12 to 7 in the Sugar Bowl, while the Nebraska Cornhuskers narrowly overcame the Auburn Tigers in the Orange Bowl, and Illinois beat the University of Washington in the Rose Bowl. It should come as no surprise that the Alabama, Ole Miss, Texas, and Auburn squads had no African American players. In fact, Ole Miss earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl because bowl officials decided against offering a bid to an integrated Pittsburgh Panthers, who demanded that their two African American players be allowed the same training privileges as white players. Even the Navy squad represented a school that admitted only fifty-one African Americans in the twenty years between 1945 and 1964; the football team itself had remained all white until Darryl Hill integrated the unit in 1962.

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