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Central State Football Team May Play In South Africa

August 16, 1996

WILBERFORCE, Ohio (AP) _ Central State football team may play a game in South Africa this season, but problems at the financially troubled school have cost it a game in New Jersey.

The privately funded African Heritage Classic would pit Central State against Morehouse College in Johannesburg Nov. 16. It would be part of an all-expenses-paid, six-day trip, said Alex Hamer, a Central State graduate and Philadelphia attorney who is coordinating the trip.

Details of the game were pending, and no contracts have been signed. Morehouse, in Atlanta, was awaiting word from the NCAA on whether it could extend its season to a 12th game.

But Central State will not be going to the New Jersey Meadowlands to play in the Whitney Young Classic Sept. 28. The New York Urban League has rescinded its invitation, citing a ``variety of problems″ at the school.

A financial emergency has been declared at Central State, which faces an estimated $8 million budget deficit. Safety officials also have closed some unsafe dormitories.

The football team has been staying at an area motel for preseason camp until its dorms are renovated. And the budget for the football program has been cut from about $400,000 to $200,000.

Dennis Walcott, president of the New York Urban League, said ``unknown variables″ led to the decision to rescind the invitation to play in the game. He would not elaborate.

``I feel bad about it,″ he said. ``But as I conveyed to their administrators, I have a responsibility to protect the interests of the New York Urban League. The Classic generates revenue for scholarships.″

Hudson said Central State stood to make $125,000 to $150,000 from the game as part of its share of ticket sales. Sponsors would have paid all of the team’s expenses.

The Classic’s coordinator, Jay Johnson, said Virginia State has been selected to replace Central State and will play Hampton.

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