First Time Ever:

Howard and Georgetown begin annual football rivalry tomorrow

For the first time in history, the Howard University Bison will play the Georgetown University Hoyas in football. The two cross-town programs will finally hook up on Saturday at Greene Stadium. This is a big opportunity for both schools to show their skills on the gridiron.

“We’re the only two football Division I affiliates in D.C.,” Howard Athletic Director Dwight Datcher said. “It’s a big opportunity for the two schools to link together academically, athletically and in community service.”

“The game will be annual,” Datcher added. “We don’t know the other dates yet, but we will fit it in and become a renewable rival.”

It has been a long time coming for the two schools, which are less than five miles from each other. Datcher believes it had nothing to do with anything, but the level of competition was a problem at first.

“I don’t think it was anything major. The communication and timing has to be right,” Datcher said. “Georgetown hasn’t always been Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly 1-AA). This is a time where both schools feel they’re competitive.”

According to Datcher, the plan for a Howard-Georgetown game has been in the works for more than five years while he was the associate athletic director at Georgetown, but it took time with schedules and the level of competition both teams were playing.

“The conversation started before Dwight Datcher and Bernard Muir, Georgetown athletic director,” he explained. “The conversation started over five years ago. It takes time to get it done with schedules. It just happens to get done while I’m the athletic director at Howard.”

Two other nearby Division I FCS schools played for the first time last year. MEAC rival Delaware State and the University of Delaware played in the first round of the FCS playoffs with the Blue Hens coming out on top. The two schools have made the front page of newspapers because of the schools’ lack of enthusiasm to play each other, and they were finally matched up in the playoffs. Datcher believes that this situation is different.

“I can’t tell you the significant situation, but it may be because a team thinks they have a competitive advantage over the other,” he said. “The teams have different styles of play, enrollment, budgets and teams always have to weight the public fall-out. With us, it’s a win-win. We not only will have the game together, but will work together in academic disciplines and student bodies.”

The game will have a 1 p.m. start time. Sean Woolford is an offensive lineman at Howard University.