The 17th annual D.C. Coaches East-West all-star football game for senior high school football players from Interhigh and Metro Conference schools will be played Friday, July 19, at RFK Stadium.
Although a number of players who already have received college scholarships will participate, the game is held for nonscholarship athletes.
"The purpose of the game is to allow senior athletes without college scholarships to exhibit their talents to receive college funding," said Frank Parks, Spingarn's athletic director and coordinator of the game.
The game also represents the last chance for many of the game's participants to play football in front of parents and friends.
"Really, I just hope to get a lot of fun out of the game," said Wilson running back Jason Howell, who will attend Central State in Ohio. "Maybe I can even get some hard work that can give me an advantage mentally and physically going into school next year."
"I hope to give my family just another memory of my playing," said Wilson's Mark Ausbrooks, who is headed to North Carolina A&T.
Parks and Jim Tillerson, president of the D.C. Coaches Association and head football coach at Theodore Roosevelt, have kept the game alive although the past few years have been ones of adjustment.
Three years ago, the NCAA ruled that college coaches could contact high school players only by mail and telephone during June and July, called the "dead period." Thus, the all-star game can no longer be seen in person by coaches and scouts of colleges and universities. The result: less scholarship help has gone to players participating in the game.
"As coaches, we hate the rule," said Anacostia Coach Willie Stewart, who will direct the East team. "It deprives the players an opportunity to be evaluated when they previously haven't been for various reasons during the season."
To offset the recruiting problem, the Coaches Association has arranged for this year's game to be taped to allow college coaches a chance to see the players. About l50 college coaches will have access to the tape.
The Coaches Association would like to draw from eight to 10,000 for the game, which will feature senior cheerleaders and school bands performing at halftime.
"We're presenting a class event which everyone can come out and enjoy," said Tillerson, who will direct the West team. "With the cheerleaders and bands, we're putting on a display with about 150 participants."
Tickets cost $5 and will be sold at Spingarn, Anacostia, T. Roosevelt and H.D. Woodson high schools. In addition to the scholarship fund, revenues go to other sports activities.