Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Central State Back in Football World after Eight-Year Hiatus

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Central State Back in Football World after Eight-Year Hiatus

Article excerpt

WILBERFORCE, OHIO

It's a rebuilding year for Central State - as in rebuilding the entire football program from scratch. Football kicks off this year after an eight-year absence at Central State, which won three National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championships in the 1990s and sent such players as Hugh Douglas and Erik Williams to the NFL.

"It's finally here," says coach Theo Lemon. "We're excited because we're practicing. We're excited that we have some big guys running around campus right now."

Central State dropped its football program following the 1996 season after the NAIA banned the team from postseason play for two years for using academically ineligible players. Later in 1997, the Ohio Legislature required the school plagued by financial problems at the time - to drop football for two years as a condition of continued state funding.

In 2001, the school's board of trustees voted to restore football through private donations. School officials say a football program would boost school spirit and enrollment at the state's only historically Black public university and increase financial contributions from alumni. …

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